Outside the Loop Adventure at Ragin Cajun in Sugar Land

Categories: On the Menu

rajin caj oysters.jpg
Photos by Christina Uticone
Decent oysters, downhill from there.
I am often entertained by the OTL-versus-ITL debate, just as I enjoy the Houston vs. Austin dustups that crop up from time to time.

I spend a majority of my time inside the Loop. The reasons are purely practical: My husband and I share a car and have a high-maintenance 12-year-old dog who limits our mobility, so we tend to stick close to home when we have leisure time. To be honest, I'm dying to try more stuff outside the Loop.

When a friend of mine called to say he would be moving to Houston and wanted to meet for dinner near his hotel in Stafford, I felt like I was driving to Mars. What an adventure! He suggested the Ragin Cajun, a place he enjoyed on a previous visit, and so we headed out on a Monday night for dinner.

Sort of.

I let my visiting pal take the lead when ordering, since he'd been there before and seemed enthusiastic about the food and atmosphere. We sat at the bar (mistake No. 1) rather than in the dining room, and quickly ordered up some drinks. Phil had flown in from Syracuse, where snow -- yes, snow in April -- had caused him to miss his flight, so he was ready to booze a little. We were there about 30 minutes before even glancing at the menu (mistake #2).

rajin caj boudin.jpg
Boudin balls
We decided to hit the appetizer menu in two rounds, and then re-evaluate to see if we were still hungry. We started with a dozen oysters on the half-shell ($10.99), boudin balls (5 for $5.99) and Louisiana fried crawfish tails (a quarter pound for $9.99). The fresh oysters were good -- maybe not as large or flavorful as others I've had this year, but they were very clean (absolutely no grit) and a good value for $10.99. I can't say I'm a huge boudin ball fan, and I found these a little on the chalky side, but the flavor was okay and they were spicy enough to be somewhat interesting, but let's face it -- most fried stuff tastes good. I was curious as to why the boudin balls came with regular old yellow mustard -- is that a thing? Like, that's what they usually come with? The mustard did more masking than enhancing of the flavor of the boudin balls, but I'm not sure that's really a negative.

When it comes to the crawfish tails, I'll say this: I haven't started liking boiled crawfish yet, so these were fine. If you had told me they were tiny, fried shrimp, I would have believed you. See: "most fried stuff tastes good." I ate my fair share, but trust me when I tell you I was hungry for more food. Maybe a po'boy or something ...

Except at 9:30 p.m. on Monday night, the kitchen had closed. When we put in our order, the bartender took it and came back five minutes later to say that unbeknownst to him, they'd shut the kitchen down for the night. I looked it up on the Ragin Cajun Web site, and the kitchen does indeed close at 9 p.m., but for whatever reason the bartender didn't seem to know that -- he was quite surprised. I'm not ragging on the guy. He was nice and genuinely sorry, and he went the extra mile to grab us some boiled spicy shrimp ($10.99 per dozen) to make up for it. They were, unfortunately, completely hideous -- rubbery, peel-it-yourself shrimp that were definitely "spiced" but hardly "spicy," if you know what I mean. I choked down one and left the rest to the guys, who were starving.

It was a long way to drive for extremely mediocre food, so luckily quality time with a friend I hadn't seen in more than five years took the edge off. That said, when I got my friend's text the next night -- "Pappadeaux was good, thanks for the suggestion" -- I was kind of kicking myself.



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Location Info

Ragin Cajun

16100 Kensington, Sugar Land, TX

Category: Restaurant

Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen

2410 Richmond, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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8 comments
Hank L
Hank L

The Gessner/Westheimer Location is way better.  The Sugar Land location is NO RAGIN CAJUN.  

SirRon
SirRon

But you went OTL for an ITL chain. I don't get it.

Wuwu
Wuwu

I went outside the loop a few weeks back...went to Blu in Sugarland as I saw two apps I wanted to order off of the dinner menu...when i showed up at lunch time they said to me, sorry no can do...I said then change your website as it says you can order off the dinner menu any time...I got back in my car, came back ITL and was a happy camper.....

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

As I said, my friend was staying out there. I wasn't about to make him drive back into the city after driving out there from Hobby at rush hour, and I had to work late so I didn't want to ask him to just wander ITL aimlessly til I was available. We had agreed days before to meet out there for dinner, and I thought it rude to suggest another place to him when he emailed me, asked me to dinner, and made the specific suggestion in the invitation.

SirRon
SirRon

:) I comprehended the words written. I'm just saying that the whole intro to the piece teased a ITL vs OTL. That doesn't work with Ragin Cajun, but I *sure* don't want to derail any meaningful conversation down here.

On a related note, the Ragin Cajun in SL is a disappointment, probably even to OTL'ers. Maybe the title could have been "The Sugar Land Ragin Cajun: Looks 'New Orleans-style,' Doesn't Taste It."

One more minute down the road and you could have had the suburban clone of Bombay Pizza Company. Next time.

RoadtoSurfdom
RoadtoSurfdom

 There is also a Ragin Cajun in the tunnel downtown. So 4 locations total in the Houston area.

Gerontion
Gerontion

...and next to Bombay Pizza is the emporium of Fadi's, which is actually worth a trip. His Sugar Land location has nailed it, trust me.

Btw, there's also a Ragin Cajun at Gessner and Westheimer if readers don't want to drive to SugLand but want OTL lovlieness.

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

Sorry for the confusion. The intro was intended to communicate, "Holy shit, I'm outside the loop."

I've never been to New Orleans, and I've only been on the Gulf Coast for 2.5 years, so I'm not sure I could get away with your headline, either. :)

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