Happy Hour Hurricanes and Crawfish Bites at Ragin Cajun

Going to Ragin Cajun on Ash Wednesday was simultaneously the best and worst decision I made this week.

Although I expected the restaurant to be busy, I didn't anticipate standing in line for almost 35 minutes to get a tasty but overpriced plate of fried seafood.

But I also didn't expect that waiting might actually be kinda pleasant. The line, which snaked all around the dining room, was filled with cheery families and chatty, laidback couples. Many people were semi-dancing to the music and almost everyone was being polite and orderly (the assholes at the Newark airport could learn much from these courteous folks). While my dining companion patiently held our spots, I ran to the oyster bar for a frozen hurricane. The infra-red concoction offered too much sweetness and too little booze; however, for $3.75 I probably shouldn't have expected anything more than a slightly spruced-up slurpie.

The floor and tables were littered with crawfish carnage, and most of the other patrons left the counter carrying plastic buckets filled with the boiled crustaceans. Come spring I always forget that everyone in Houston has been looking forward to crawfish season. Except, it seems, for me. I can't stand those little buggers. It's too much effort for too little flavorless meat. (Reminds me of the old Woody Allen joke: "The food is terrible--and such small portions.")

I felt like a party pooper, however, not ordering any, so as a compromise I split the Crawfish Bites appetizer. While the breaded balls didn't quite have an "explosion" of crawfish tail as advertised in the description, they were fairly packed with meat, as well as hearty amount of Jack cheese. Ragin Cajun also didn't skimp on the seasoning; I'm not exactly sure what exactly comprises Creole seasoning, but the Bites certainly had some, well, bite. A side of creamy remoulade also nicely complemented the flavorful crunch of the balls' Italian breadcrumb exterior.

Maybe I'll come around to boiled crawfish someday, but I'll have to smother them in melted butter...and cheese...and pepper...and mayonnaise...

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Joanna O'Leary