Seafood boils bring all the best foods together in one saucy bag. The trend has picked up local steam over the last few years with restaurants piling a mix of crab, shrimp, lobster, crawfish and more inside a bag and bringing them to a boil with corn, sausage and potatoes to create an eat-with-your-hands dining experience that’s both filling and brimming with flavor. But it’s the sauce slathered on top that really makes these culinary experiences worth remembering. Strap on a bib and grab some gloves before trying out these three seafood boil sauces we love most.
Seafood Shake’s Shake Sauce and Ma La Sauce
Shake things up by mixing Seafod Shake’s Shake Sauce with its Ma La sauce. The house sauce has its own kick, with Cajun spices mixed with lemon and pepper. But when paired with the Ma La, an option inspired by a Szechuan sauce with peppercorn and chile pepper oil that comes in three different spice levels, it’s got a mouth-numbing kick that keeps you coming back. “After a couple times trying it, you get addicted to it because it’s a different type of spiciness,” says chef and owner Hangchun Zheng. 1852 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights, 216-417-4830, seafoodshake.com
The Boiler 65’s Bombdiggity Sauce
An explosion of flavor that took two years for owner Michael Harris to perfect, the Bombdiggity sauce at the Boiler 65 truly lives up to its name. With a creamy, buttery base and a tongue-tingling garlic kick, head chef Alphonzo Freeman suggests using it as a dipping sauce for the king crab legs ($40 per pound). “I love the sweetness of the seafood with the heat of the Bombdiggity,” he says. “It just takes over like it’s an umami effect in your mouth.” 6410 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, 216-862-5893, theboiler65.com
The Sauce Boiling Seafood Express’s Dragon Fly Sauce
A new sauce is featured each month at the takeout-only Sauce Boiling Seafood Express. This month, don’t miss out on the debut of the Dragon Fly sauce, a soy-based Asian- inspired slather with sesame seeds and a hint of ginger. “It has a little bit of zing in it,” says owner Kyler Smith. Smith suggests pouring it on a sauce bowl ($8-$14) with a side of rice to amp up the surprise kick and Asian flavors, but says it pairs well with any of the six boil bags on the menu. “It gives it a new flavor that’s unique. It’s about doing something different,” he says. 13888 Cedar Road, University Heights, 216-417-1719, thesaucebse.com