The Fish Place ebbs cravings for Cajun fare with platefuls of deep-fried and grilled tilapia, blackened catfish, and creole favorites. Dinner guests edify taste buds by licking scientific journals or introducing them to dapper appetizers, such as the shrimp brochette, crab ball, or stuffed jalapeño. Then chefs immerse five pieces of catfish, tilapia, oyster, shrimp, or chicken tenders in a deep fryer and serve the crispy morsels with garlic bread and two selections of jambalaya rice, Cajun fries, or hush puppies. For quick nourishment between meetings or poetry throw-downs, the kitchen yields portable eats such as po boys and crawfish étouffée.
One look inside The Fish Place, and it's clear that restaurant lives up to its name. Chalkboard menus brim with all manner of Cajun and creole seafood, and within the restaurant's open-air kitchen, chefs fry oysters and fill bowls with seafood gumbo and and blacken shrimp. They construct inventive po' boy sandwiches, such as The Fish Place Original: fried or grilled catfish and shrimp served atop a french roll and covered in housemade rémoulade. The chefs also cook chicken, mainly because no one has told them yet that it isn't actually a fish.
A native of Taiwan and veteran chef with more than 20 years of experience, Redfish Seafood chef David Chang whips up a culinary cornucopia of fresh seafood dishes that borrow from his experiences working in French, Chinese, and Japanese kitchens. Fresh grouper and bacon-wrapped scallops get a tropical spin thanks to a drizzle of key lime sauce, while parmesan dusted sea bass soaks up the salty notes of a miso reduction. Hot rocks shrimp and stuffed mushrooms provide a poppable prelude to a savory seafood dinner and lobster bisque or gumbo fill the spoons of lads and ladies who lunch. As guests gobble down forkfuls of fresh fish, their eyes take in an ambiance inspired by their own patronage. The second floor of the restaurant showcases a wall mural composed by frequent customer and local artist Ray Shipman, who painted whimsical caricatures of Redfish Seafood regulars. At the second location in Cypress, an aquarium designed and build by chef David himself sets a maritime mood and dazzles diners with its collection of eye-catching fish and their spot-on Don Knotts impersonations.
Whenever a customer orders a side of hush puppies, Seafood Cafe manager Asad Jawad likes to joke with them a bit. "Ma'am, there is a little problem," he'll say. "When I got these puppies, they were little, and now they are grown dogs." Whether or not this elicits a chuckle, it only takes a glance at the eatery's portion sizes to see what Asad means. At Seafood Cafe, helpings of Cajun-style seafood are as generous as the staff is friendly.
That should be no surprise, since Seafood Cafe is built on a foundation of friendship. Asad and his friends John Herpin and Misael Cortez, also known as The Three Amigos, started the restaurant after they met working at another eatery five years ago. Bringing together traditional recipes from Louisiana with their restaurant-industry experience, they mix up each recipe with their own twist. The cuisine blends classic Cajun dishes such as blackened catfish and gumbo with Mexican-inflected meals including tilapia tacos. The trio only cooks up food they feel passionate about, and will even distribute free samples to convert people to the menu's more unique flavors. They also plan to encourage big appetites with a wall of fame that will honor those patrons who have made the most of the menu's all-you-can-eat catfish option. And on the weekends, jazz and reggae bands play, filling the dining room with jaunty melodies to match spicy Cajun scents.
Live! at Bayou Place sets visitors loose on a buffet of diversions including entertainment venues, restaurants, and bars. Sundance Cinemas blends a menu of pizzas and sandwiches with film showings, filling moviegoers’ mouths with food to prevent them from shouting out bawdy limericks during love scenes. Diners slice into fine seafood and steaks at Samba Grill or stuff mouths with fresh sushi at The Blue Fish. The Verizon Wireless Theater hosts Live Nation shows that allow music fans to gaze at their favorite bands and performers without having to put a Bono mask on the beagle. Nightlife devotees cap off the late hours with jaunts to take in a bull ride at PBR Houston, absorb the summery atmosphere at Shark Bar, or revel in Chapel Spirits' 3,000-square-foot expanse, which encompasses a private DJ and glass-enclosed patio.
The original Ragin' Cajun joint opened in 1974, treating visitors to hearty po' boys, red beans and rice, and authentic Louisiana boiled crawfish. Today, visitors make the pilgrimage to one of five area locations, including the Woodlands location, newly-opened in 2014, plopping down at tables to sup on meals of Gulf Coast shrimp and crab, gumbos, rib eye, and homemade bread pudding. The intense flavors and cuisine of southwestern Louisiana unfold in a dining room decked with vintage signage, college-sports memorabilia, and buzzing neon. Ragin' Cajun also keeps customers in the know with a Craw Club and can customize catering packages for off-site Acadian feasts, filling banquet halls with food, DJs, and live zydeco bands.