Located at 1418 Plainfield NE., Sazerac Lounge hails as one of Grand Rapids few places to get Cajun cuisine. The ambiance is quaint with a pub-like feel to it, further enhanced by its dart boards, pool table, and dark woods.
The drink menu is extensive. It carries microbrews, wines, spirits, and various specialty drinks. I tried the namesake drink the Sazerac. The drink smells completely harmless, and in fact bears a striking resemblance to the ubiquitous childhood liquid sugar buzz, cherry Kool-Aid. However, this cocktail packs an uppercut punch and has ingredients that include, but are not limited to absinthe and bitters, with a very happy twist of lemon.
The food menu has a pretty decent selection. Offerings include a variety of appetizers, soups, entrées and desserts. Some of the menu items sampled:
Had a deep and rich flavor, the roux seemed almost caramelized. Overall it had a hint of spice to it, and had a generous amount of andouille sausage...
Sweet potato fries:
They were crispy and sweet, with a little salt to create a pleasant contrast of flavor. The fries are served with a garlic aioli for dipping. Unfortunately the dip lacked the heartiness and spice of garlic, and nothing but the unctuous taste of mayonnaise prevailed.
Red beans and rice:
Subtle to non-existent flavor and no heat (I know not all Cajun food is spicy but, seriously…), the rice at least, was nicely cooked. The only thing that was really missing… were the beans. This is kind of hard to overlook considering that the absent ingredient is actually in the name of the dish. Wait… Did I order, red rice and rice? Oh yeah, it must have been that “Sazerac” drink again…
New Orleans BBQ Shrimp:
Lots of robust garlicky flavor, and the slices of red onion were a treat, but, there were no other (if any) Cajun seasonings that made themselves known. It really just tasted like a decent garlic-butter shrimp dish. The shrimp were cooked well and the plate was visually appealing, but nothing at all cried New Orleans, unless of course New Orleans is now crying because I ate this.
The combination of soft and chewy works to the benefit of homemade chocolate chip cookies, but for crab cakes it’s a texture differential most can do without. These were soggy, with a scant amount of crab (which was overcooked) and drab tasting herbs.
Sazerac Lounge is a great place to meet with friends, have a drink, and play some games. But if you would like to have a true taste of the Big Easy, you should look elsewhere.