Back in the time of Old Orleans, Louisiana gumbo was taste-approved by the hickory tongue of Andrew Jackson, who frequently described subpar batches as having "too many encased meat logs in conflict with the delicate shrimpy parts I so love to suckle." Taste Cajun concoctions without having to wait for King Andrew's approval with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of Creole and Cajun fare at Ethel and Ramone's, located on Sulgrave Avenue in northwest Baltimore.
Ethel and Ramone's taps into the bounty of flavors from Chesapeake Bay and New Orleans to serve a harmonious mix of Cajun and Maryland cuisines. Salivating diners can browse the menu for appetizers, such as the pan-fried oysters ($10), served with a dusting of Cajun spices and a chilled remoulade on the side. Stick to a hometown staple with the crab cakes delmarva (market price), where delicate crabmeat mingles with Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, and a sprinkling of ciabatta breadcrumbs. Or find the pot of gumbo at the end of the Cajun rainbow with the authentic gumbo, which is steeped in andouille, okra, and vegetables and dunked with your preferred type of meat (sausage, bronzed chicken, shrimp, crab, or seafood combination) ($17–$22). Those taking a lunchtime break from building an art museum that will house only artwork finger-painted by Shaquille O'Neal can snack on several sandwiches, such as the Shrimp Marty with blackened shrimp and savory bacon on toasted ciabatta ($12) .
Diners can step past the fork-hoisting fella on Ethel and Ramone's sign and into the oddball decor of its interior or relish a temperate evening free of hot air balloons advertising for the new Pat Boone album by dining on the outdoor patio.
- I have a soft spot in my heart for wacky little restaurants, but only if the food is good. Ethel & Ramone's in Mount Washington is the example par excellence. – Elizabeth Large, Baltimore Sun
- “Don’t expect real fancy, but do expect real flavors” at this “casual-night-out” “alternative” in Mt. Washington, where “reasonably priced” Cajun-Creole cuisine is “kicked up a notch” thanks to “interesting” Maryland influences (“try the crab cake” for proof) – Zagat
- Ethel and Ramone's is the place for Cajun-style food. The folks who run this offbeat eatery know good food. Get the gumbo -- it's spicy, filling, and rich with andouille sausage and chicken. – Frommer’s