Hi there! Since I didn’t get a chance to do a food review last month, here’s one early this month. This week, I’ll introduce you to the Free Man Cajun Cafe and Lounge. It’s another one of Deep Ellum’s many restaurants, also on Commerce Street (up the road from the Dancing Marlin, actually). Check out their website (linked above) for their address and other information. Also, it’s not a seafood place!
Here’s a reminder of the rating system:
MMMMM = Everything is magnificent!
MMMM = Great, but something is off.
MMM = Pretty good, but a couple of things could be better.
MM = The bad’s starting to outweigh the good.
M = Definitely more cons than pros.
… = I couldn’t find anything nice to say.
Accessibility… It’s actually really accessible unless they’re super packed and you have to squeeze all the way into the back for a table. Even then, it’s mostly just a matter of asking people to move, which is definitely one of my least favorite things to do. Most people are super nice about it, but it’s still not something I enjoy. Anyway, I like the table set up at Free Man’s. Aside from being a good height, the half-booth half-chair arrangement is good for me AND lets whomever I’m with have a choice (namely, Dad).
The service here is kind of hit and miss in a lot of ways. A lot of the time, I’m invisible, but occasionally (like this last time) I’m treated normally. To be fair, we usually go when there’s live music (7pm-2am every day), so it’s really hard to hear me anyway, but I prefer it when waiters at least try to talk to me. We went last Thursday around four in the afternoon, so maybe that’s why the waitress treated me like a person right off the bat. Also, sometimes the staff is really attentive, sometimes not. It just depends on how busy they are. Speaking of busy, if they are super busy, the food comes out fairly slow, but if they’re not, it has a tendency to come out boom boom boom, so take that into account when you order.
Onto the thing everyone cares about: the food! We went with the blackened shrimp cocktail and the hot crab dip for appetizers this time. It was our first time trying the cocktail, and I’m happy to say it was super yummy. There was a little spice to it, but not much, and the shrimp were nicely cooked. As far as the crab dip goes, it’s cheese, crab, and bread! You can’t go wrong.
The entrees. Back when we first started going to Free Man’s, the menu was extremely limited (not a bad thing at all). They still have a fairly small selection, but it’s slowly growing. My go-to is usually the Cajun crawfish pasta. It’s got a lovely creamy sauce and they top it with chicken. I love it. Dad went for the etouffee this time, which is also delicious. They don’t make it too spicy, but they have a number of hot sauces on the table for you heat lovers to choose from. We also split a cup of gumbo (yum!). They do it right! Plus, the entrees come with a hunk of cornbread. I’m not a big fan of cornbread, but this stuff has won me over. Try it. You might like it.
The dessert! Again, you have a limited choice, but that’s totally okay here. Dad tried the bacon cheesecake (something new since our last trip). Sounds absolutely amazing, right? Looks tasty, no? Honestly, it’s kind of meh. It’s one of those “at least we can say we tried it” experiences. The bread pudding, on the other hand, has got to be the BEST pudding of its kind that has entered my mouth. You want a foodgasm? Go get some. Don’t like bread pudding? Try it anyway!
And now, the thing no one wants to talk about: the price. It’s not the cheapest meal you can find, but it’s not horribly expensive. Go one evening, listen to some live jazz, and relax. You’ll get your money’s worth.
My overall rating:
See you next week!