Eatery - The Big Easy (NC)

The Big Easy - 222 Fayetteville St, Raleigh, NC 27601
Pricing - $$-$$$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - Cajun, Creole | Reservations - Unnecessary

*DISCLAIMER* I went during Triangle Restaurant Week so the pricing was not the same. Listed above is the price based off of the online menu.

So this was my first stop for Triangle Restaurant Week. I shelled out $30 here (my dinner was $20, drink was $5, and I left tip). The food was pretty awesome. I really enjoyed the atmosphere too. This place was in the heart of downtown Raleigh, and it was tempting to check out other restaurants on the street as well. Inside it was very casual, and a live band was playing behind us. Tuesdays also happen to be Trivia nights but I didn't get to stay long because my friend had to head out by the time the game started. Oh well. I'd go again to try out the other things! So onward with the food:

So this is the Hurricane - The Big Easy's specialty drink. It goes for $5 on Tuesdays so we got lucky with this one. The ingredients aren't posted online though; in fact, it just says, "Secret family recipe. Lots of red rum and fun. Served on the rocks." On the part about rum, I'd agree. There must have been quite a bit of Malibu in it too because it had a very coconut-y taste. Unfortunately for them, I'm not a big coconut fan so I wasn't so pleased with the drink. It was also very strong; coconut + alcohol were the most prominent tastes. I downed it pretty quickly so I could get to the other food. The one perk was that rum's the base spirit that gets me a little bit faster than other spirits so it helped numb me a tad against the spiciness of my food.

Mmmm alligator bites. This was my appetizer part of the meal, and it was delicious. I don't have anything more to say about this than it was nicely moist on the inside and crispy on the outside. The spicy mustard dipping sauce had a bit of kick to it so I used it sparingly. Either way, it was good. It's funny how I had written a post about the phrase "tastes like chicken" because this was similar...but a bit richer. I enjoyed this a lot actually.

My friend got the Louisiana Pretzel (which we were both unsure of whether or not it was a Louisiana thing seeing as we had both been in New Orleans before). It was half a soft pretzel smothered (as you can see) in a cheesy, crab artichoke sauce and topped with shredded mozzarella. It was way too heavy, and I couldn't have more than a bite of it.

My main dish was the Shrimp Creole. The waitress was nice enough to ask me before I ordered it if I liked spicy food, and then she brought out a sample of the sauce for me before she put the order in. I thought it was fine but I didn't account for the fact that the dish would have heat both in the sauce and in the temperature sooooo it was difficult eating this quickly. I kept having to down some of my drink to save my tongue. However, the spice was great - I could tell that there was plenty of delicious seasoning used. I think the best part of it all was the SHRIMP. My goodness, I could not get over how delectably succulent that shrimp was. The entree also came with a corn muffin that seemed to have bell pepper bits inside; it was weird but still tasty. The sweetness of the muffin helped steel me against the spice. For the online description, the dish was "Louisiana Gulf shrimp served in traditional New Orleans style creole tomato sauce over seasoned rice."

So the Triangle Restaurant Week (TRW) menu had a selection of two different desserts - my friend and I ordered different ones so we could try both. She got the Bananas Foster (sauteed bananas in buttery bourbon rum sauce over homemade bread pudding and vanilla ice cream), which we both found to be excellent though rich. We weren't fans of bananas but the slices were prepared well. The ice cream was needed for the heavy bread pudding but overall it was great.

The Bourbon Street Brownie (homemade brownie smothered in buttery bourbon sauce and sauteed pecans) was VERY rich. I know I keep saying everything is rich but it was true; we felt bloated afterward. This brownie was my pick for the desserts so I had this first. The brownie was almost cake-like actually...but condensed. I wouldn't call it brownie-like however. The first thought in my head when I put the spoon is my mouth was that there was definitely bourbon in the sauce. The ice cream was very much needed for this. As for the pecans, I think that they were too sauteed because I could hardly taste them. Between the both of us, we couldn't finish it after all the other stuff we had eaten but perhaps another time I'll try it on an emptier stomach. Overall, it was a great dinner out albeit lengthy.