Cajun

I have been wanting to go to Ritter’s for quite some time. Visiting Vegas throughout, I have been trying to make time to visit Oyster Bar in the Palace Station Casino — All for one dish, the Pan Roast. Chef Ritter, after being approached by some customers went to venture off to open Steam Kettle Cooking in Orange County. Vegas was a long ways away, so Orange County was the next best thing. I was excited to finally try their famous Pan Roast.

Complimentary bread started us off. I made sure I didn’t get too full off of the bread. I of course made sure to save some to scrape up the pan roast bowl.

We started things off with the bacon wrapped shrimp. Shrimp wrapped in bacon, and I’m not ordering it? Please. The shirmp were molasses marinated with mozzarella. Though the mozzarella was lost, wrapping it in bacon did the trick. The shrimp was a bit overcooked, but still had a nice taste to it. Served with molasses mustard on the side, this was a guilty and flavorful appetizer.

We ordered the red beans and rice, which in hind sight, we should have just let it pass. The traditional southern red beans, rice, and andouille pork sausage was good together. The beans were flavorful and the “sauce” was quite good. We ordered it mild, but stupid me asked for a little bit of chopped habeneros. The spiciness did wonders for this somewhat boring dish, but the hot temperature mixed with the spicy habaneros were just too much to bear.

They gave us a bowl of New England clam chowder, on the house. It was rich and creamy, but I felt it was missing something. The clams were plump and the soup was thick. I think a little bit of cracked black pepper would have done much for this bowl. My taste buds were probably singed off by the habaneros at this point.

Ritter’s famous pan roast was worth it. Pan roast is a tomato and cream based creole dish. The rich flavors was such a comfort to me. It was like eating a hearty bowl of curry rice, but not. The creamy tomato mixed with green peppers, onions and celery gave a nice balance. The shrimp, crab, clams, and lobster gave a nice roundabout seafood flavor. We kept the spice level to a mild, but adventurous eaters can choose from a spicy level 1 – 10. The jasmine rice mixed in the pan roast was just a perfect dish.

Ritter’s was an awesome spot to enjoy dinner. The Pan Roast is a must order as it is their signature dish. Nobody comes here for the beans and rice. Nobody comes here for the bacon wrapped shrimp. You come here for the pan roast. That rich comforting bowl of seafood essence and rice was just too nice. No more needing to drive all the way to Vegas for this bad boy. Slowly, they are setting up shop in Orange County.

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I remember going to Disneyland when I was a kid.  One of my favorite rides was the Pirates of the Caribbean.  The cool robotic and realistic figures causing havoc in pirate land was so entertaining.  They just looked so real!  Drifting away deeper and deeper into the fake world of pirates, I couldn’t help but get lost in it all. One thing I always remembered was the beginning of the ride.  Gazing at the people dining near the Bayou in the dimly lit setting, I always wondered who these people were.  How did they get over there, I asked myself.  In my young and naive mind, I came to the conclusion that, “those people must be special”.

Twenty odd years later, here I was, waiting to be seated where those “special” people had sat.  I entered the dining area, and it was just as I imagined.  Dimly lit with candles and lanterns, cool ambiance of the swamp bayou, and people on the boats riding Pirates of the Caribbean on the calm water. I had come to realize that I was on the other side of the looking glass —  I was finally here.

The setting was romantic.  You almost forget you are at Disneyland — inside of a theme park attraction even. The waiter gave us some bread and butter along with our waters.  I ordered the Buccaneer’s short rib and my girlfriend ordered the Cajun spiced salmon.

My short ribs were really tender and flavorful, but really salty.  I like salty and savory  foods, but even this was too salty for my taste.  Eating each bite of meat with the bread or potatoes really helped a lot. My girlfriend’s salmon was really good though.  The strong flavors of the seasoning and the crawfish beurre blanc was delicious.

Is it weird that I liked the appetizers more than the main course?  The chicken gumbo was really good — the Cajun flavors were really prevalent in the dish. I also liked the starter salad.  The craisins and fresh greens really made this salad pop.

 

So I guess my thinking is still correct.  It is virtually impossible to get a fantastic meal in the happiest place on earth. I guess the food doesn’t have to be spectacular at the Blue Bayou.  They make it up with the nice views and scenery.  I must say though, it was a dream come true eating here.   I had finally made it on the other side of the water.

Blue Bayou (Disneyland) on Urbanspoon

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