BET You Didn’t Know The Best Cajun Seafood Food Was in a Casino!

The Dishes: Crawfish Etoufee with Crab
The Place: Ocean Trail Seafood at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona
The Location: 9800 E. Indian Bend Rd Scottsdale, AZ 85256

By Glen Davis

So, as an ex-New Englander living in the desert, there are things you can’t “just go do” in the desert. I can’t run down to the beach just because I want to and I can’t go get great seafood anytime I’d like to. Right? Nope. It’s here and by “here” I mean 20 feet from the slot machines, just off the casino floor of the Talking Stick Resort.

My buddy Joel and I were talking about Cajun food. He had just returned from Houston. He said something I didn’t expect, “…yeah the Cajun place was good, but my favorite is right here in Scottsdale.” I had to try it.

We sat at the bar. Frankly, other than 2 cocktail tables on the perimeter of this little gem, you sit at the bar. There are only about 15 or so seats around the bar, but it’s well-attended, fast-moving and very well staffed.

Since my wife is gluten-free, I wanted to begin with foods that we could share. We started with shrimp cocktail and steamed mussels. The Shrimp was very fresh and LARGE. The red cocktail sauce was seasoned perfectly with just the right amount of horseradish. The price was not cheap. This is not the $2.99 cocktail you remember from Vegas. Think more about the high-end version at one of the local steak places. It was that good.

The mussels were great too. The butter, white wine sauce was so good that, under only slight duress, I sacrificed the final third of the dish to my wife. As I was waiting for my Etoufee (there’s flour in it, so GF eaters must pass on it), she decided to order some extra white rice and made her own wonderful concoction.

So, now the appetizers are cleared and I’m semi-patiently staring at the front-end chef as she is professionally working the 6 little steam kettles in front of her. Food comes out of the back kitchen and is placed into on of these little contraptions where the chef makes final preparations. It’s fun to watch!

I chose Crawfish Etoufee with Crab and I asked for it to be #0. Heat is from 0 to 10. Our server told us that “Tabasco is about a 3”. I love a good Atomic horseradish, but chili heat kills me. Number zero it is. When the bowl was placed in front of me, I swear I heard the angels sing…and they sung a Cajun tune. Or was it Creole?

Amazing, fresh seafood in a spicy blonde roux. I dove in! As I type this, I need more. It was amazing. Each forkful was better than the last. I loved it as I tried to dissect it…yep, that’s fresh crawfish…mmmm, there’s lump crab. I loved it even more when I engaged the spoon and shoved heaping spoonfuls into my face. With the wonderful warm bread rolls that come with it, I ate as much as I could and took the rest for an amazing next day breakfast.

I loved it and now I tell all my of friends that my favorite Cajun Place is here in Scottsdale. Right next to the slot machines. Let us know if you win!

eat + drink + share

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Erik Merkow
Founder and CEO at Az Food & Wine
Erik: a father, writer, son, photographer, corporate guy, friend, brother, and foodie wine guy

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