The presentation of the crawfish at Reel Cajun Restaurant in Port Arthur on Saturday, Jan 27. Photo by Gabbie Smith.

The presentation of the crawfish at Reel Cajun Restaurant in Port Arthur on Saturday, Jan 27. Photo by Gabbie Smith.

Early season crawfish with unique flair

I decided to try out Reel Cajun Seafood Restaurant & Bar in Port Arthur. Even though it’s still a little early in the season for crawfish, I decided to go with my boyfriend to check theirs out.

This was my first visit. The restaurant is surrounded by a lot of other things in Port Arthur so that’s definitely a plus. It’s right off Twin City highway on the other side of The Port Arthur Little Theatre. The outside looks huge, but once one gets inside it’s smaller than one would think.

When we first walked in we were instantly greeted by one of the staff. We went around 1:30 p.m. on a Saturday, so I expected to have to wait a while, especially since the parking lot looked full. However, we were sat almost immediately. The inside is nautical themed with fake fish on the wall and fish nets all around. We sat next to the bar which had at least six giant TVs.

After a few minutes our waitress greeted us. She handed us our menus and took our drink orders. We skimmed the menu for a moment even though we knew we just wanted to get crawfish.

The crawfish come in increments of three or five pounds, I got three. Reel Cajun has three different levels of seasoning for their boiled seafood — “Sort’A Hot,” “REELY Hot,” and “REELY Darn Hot.” I got “REELY Hot” and my boyfriend got the “REELY Darn Hot” because he likes to suffer for some reason.

We heard from a few of our friends that the crawfish wasn’t done the typical way. At first I was skeptical because why mess with a good thing? However, I was pleasantly surprised.

We waited no more than ten minutes for our crawfish. It came out hot and steaming in a big stainless steel bowl so I could tell it had just been boiled. The order comes with one piece of corn and two potatoes. It also came with the generic pink “crawfish” sauce, but I’ve never been a fan of that.

At first, I was a little put off at how the crawfish looked. There were what looked like little pieces of garlic all over it. However, after my first bite I was hooked — it was definitely different. It still tasted like the crawfish we’ve grown to know and love, but it had other levels of flavor that were different and unique.

The spiciness was the perfect amount. The potatoes were cooked throughout and were full of flavor, and the corn was delicious.

As it is the beginning of crawfish season, they were mostly pretty small.

No matter the size of the crawfish they were all packed with flavor. The best part of this meal came at the end — all of the juice and seasoning is at the bottom of the bowl which your last few crawfish have just been sitting in, so the last few bites were more flavorful and spicy than any of the ones before.

As is typical in early season they were pretty expensive at $9.50 a pound. But it was definitely worth it. I can’t wait to go back and try it again.

Reel Cajun Seafood Restaurant and Bar is located at 7500 N Twin City Hwy. in Port Arthur.

For more, visit their Facebook page.

Review by Gabbie Smith, UP contributor

Learn more about Lamar University at lamar.edu

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