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extramsg | Oct 3, 200507:34 PM     5

Several of us from PortlandFood.org had dinner at Lagniappe the other night. First time I've been there in the new location. Got to try several dishes I hadn't before because of the size of the group.

A rundown of what we ate:

Jambalaya: Rice pilaf with smoked chicken and andouille ($9.50)
Gumbo: Peanut roux thickened with chicken and andouille ($5.50)
Red Beans and Rice: with grilled andouille and cornbread ($9.50)
White Beans and Tasso*
Oysters and Spinach Stew (Oysters in the Grass)*
Shrimp Poboy: Deep fried shrimp on French bread ($8.75)
Muffaletta*
Crawfish Tails: Deep fried with mustard dipping sauce ($7)
Cornbread ($1.50)
Collard Greens ($2.25)
Raisin Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce ($4.75)
Chocolate Fudge Cake with Whipped Cream ($4.75)
Pecan-Orange Tart ($4.75)

* special

Did I leave anything out?

I thought everything was at least decent. I'd say the weakest item was the jambalaya, which was just as bland as the first time I had it in the other location. With some salt and hot sauce, it was improved, but still lacked the intensity I expected.

Most people seemed to like the gigantic shrimp poboy -- fried shrimp on a french roll --, but I actually preferred the muffalletta, which was a special. It had a mixture of cold cuts on a sesame seed bun the size of the plate with cheese and olive tapenade. The interior appeared to have been heated under a broiler, with the cheese all melted and a bit crusty.

I thought the gumbo was quite tasty. I kept sopping up the leftovers with cornbread. I added hot sauce to mine, because, like their other dishes, everything was mild.

I was surprised that I liked the crawfish tails. I'm not usually a fan of mudbugs. They had a nice little creamy-mustardy sauce on the side, too, which I enjoyed.

While it's not the best Cajun food I've had, it's a great value for Portland. They give large portions and rarely is an item over $10. And as I said, everything was at least decent and several of the items were good. I'd like to see the flavors intensified a bit, but at least they're pretty well-balanced. Too often Cajun food can mean merely lots of Tabasco on mediocre dishes.

Did Roux open yet? (Last date I heard was Oct. 1, I think.) It'll be interesting when it does, because that will be three Cajun/Creole places in N/NE.

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