Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dive of the Day - Cajun Cafe on the Bayou

A friend suggested that we visit Cajun Cafe on the Bayou promising a great selection of craft beers and "authentic" Cajun cuisine.  "But", he warned, "It is a bit of a dive".  Now when I think of a place as a dive, I imagine that it is a complete shit hole, not worth taking the time to visit. But what is it the difference between a 'shit hole' and a 'dive'?  I have pondered this for more time than I should and believe that I have your answer.   Obviously the terms evoke similar feelings that the place is a bit less than clean and in various stages of disrepair.  But that really is not quite it.... at least the unclean part of the formula.  No, the difference between a dive and a shit hole is whether or not you feel comfortable enough to actually enter the establishment.

As we pulled up and examined the hodgepodge of a building, it looked as if the person who created this Frankenstein had a vague idea of what was needed but had neither the skill to pull it off nor the money to hire a professional to design their creation. The funny thing is that if you have visited Louisiana you have noticed the same jumble of cobbled together architecture, which makes the Cajun Cafe quite authentic.  Low ceilings, clutter and disjointed spaces make up the majority of the Cafe and a large outdoor patio overlooking an honest to god bayou.  The space is anchored by a large bar liberally decorated with cliche beads and
cajunesque decor.  You will also notice a fine selection of brews on tap and a glass fronted cooler also sporting an equally fine selection of bottles and canned beer.  And while the space is air conditioned, the air conditioning is quite sporadic in coverage, which also seems to match the jumble of buildings.  However the corner in which we were seated was not lucky enough to be blessed by artificially cooled air and while the patrons sitting a few tables away were comfortable enough we sat in pools of sweat.

The dinner at Cajun Cafe on the Bayou was actually quite nice.  Decent enough Gumbo, OK Boudin, passable Po' Boys.  Not great, but pretty good.  If you are from the Louisiana area and a jonseing for some Acadian inspired cuisine, this place is the methadone that you need to get you through until you are able to return to the swamps.  But if you want traditional, authentic cajun cuisine, this really isn't the place.  However, with the really good selection of beers, the nice patio space and the pretty good food this is a place that we can recommend you visit and we believe you, like us, will return.

Floridians are quite amusing in swearing that particular restaurants serving cuisines not indigenous to Florida are quite authentic and probably as good as the original, and in almost every case I have found this to be exactly opposite of the truth.  Want great seafood?  Great Cuban?  Great Italian?  Florida is the place.  You want great Mexican?  Great Barbecue?  Great Cajun?  Yeah, go elsewhere, because it is not here.

Cajun Cafe on the Bayou
8101 Park Blvd,
Pinellas Park, FL 33781

No comments:

Post a Comment