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Cajun Cave

At Roadhouse dance hall, the party starts at 2 p.m. every Saturday

I do much better on a lunchtime visit in the middle of the week. Chicken-and-sausage gumbo is the daily special, and it's made with lots of both meats. It's thin because of a shortage of roux, but it has a nice cayenne kick. A generous portion served over rice in a Styrofoam bowl makes quite a lunch.

A side of Cajun potatoes turns out to be made by mashing whole potatoes with lots of green onions. The menu also includes several other gumbos, red beans and rice, and just about everything else considered edible east of the Sabine.

I can't lie. The food isn't stellar. But I love the place anyway.

The brisket comes with a side of fun at Roadhouse.
Troy Fields
The brisket comes with a side of fun at Roadhouse.

Location Info

Map

Roadhouse Cajun BBQ and Honky Tonk

11902 Old Galveston Road
Houston, TX 77034

Category: Restaurant >

Region: Outer Loop - SE

Details

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

Boudin: $2.50
Brisket plate: $6.95
Brisket sandwich: $3.95
Crawfish étouffée: $7.95
Peach cobbler: $1.50

11902 Galveston Road, 281-481-8736.

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Readers from Louisiana often write letters chastising me for failing to differentiate between Creole and Cajun cuisine. In Louisiana, these are important distinctions. But here in Houston, "Cajun" restaurants blend all the styles together into a sort of Louisiana fusion. We like New Orleans red beans and rice, and we like Cajun gumbo. What are you gonna do if we mix it all up -- go tell your mama in Mamou?

We do the same thing with Louisiana music. Sure, we know that Cajun and zydeco are two distinct styles. But there are hardly any Cajun musicians left around here. And there are lots of zydeco bands. So at Cajun dance halls like Roadhouse Cajun Bar-B-Q, we all dance to zydeco.

There are a lot of Louisianans in Houston. But after a couple of generations, they seem to forget about some of their historical cultural divisions. The blacks and the whites and the country and the city stuff all get thrown together on the same dance floor -- and the same menu. The resulting Gulf Coast Cajun-Creole mélange may not be authentic, but that's not stopping anybody from dancing -- or eating.

Houston Press music editor John Nova Lomax told me that he was happy to see Roadhouse open again. Pe-Te's Cajun Bar-B-Q was one of his favorite places to bring people who were visiting Houston for the first time, he said.

"The food is not that great," I said.

"Yeah, but…," Lomax began. The zydeco bands that play on Saturday and the blues bands that perform on Sunday aren't really the best of either genre, he freely admitted. And while he always gets a bowl of gumbo, he wasn't that enthusiastic about the cooking either. "The food is just an afterthought," he said.

But while the two of us agreed that the food and music are only average, we're also both convinced that Roadhouse Cajun Bar-B-Q may be the coolest place in town to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

Don't expect brilliant cuisine or musicianship. But don't let the lack of either dissuade you from taking in this Louisiana-come-to-Houston spectacle. Roadhouse Cajun Bar-B-Q on a weekend afternoon is an amazing synergy of live music, cold beer, hot boudin, colorful characters and frenzied dance-floor performances.

Go check it out -- and don't forget to wear your dancing shoes.

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