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Fast Foodie: Cajun Seafood & Sandwiches

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Photo: Veronica Luna, License: N/A

Chicken banh mi sandwich from Cajun Seafood & Sandwiches.

The 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu, allegedly asked his kitchen staff for an easy-to-eat snack between two slices of bread so he wouldn't have to get up from the gaming table, thus unwittingly lending his name to one of the inescapable trappings of modern life. And I'd be willing to bet that nowhere in the world is sandwich culture more pervasive than right here at home; from the burger to the BLT, the hearty roast beef with mustard to the dainty egg salad trimmed of all vestiges of crust, sandwiches are supreme. Try thinking of childhood (some would say adulthood, too) without grilled cheese. Nevertheless, there are limits, and it seemed they were being stretched unreasonably when a restaurant that had recently (and briefly) been not-bad Korean turned up one day as Cajun Seafood & Sandwiches. Yes, there's fried and boiled seafood; both gumbo and pho, too. But what most intrigued me was the face-off between N'awlins-style po' boys and Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches. Would the battle between bread make up for the loss of Gaaboseh Korean Café's hot kimchee soup?

Both sandwiches are served on a baguette-style bun, and it's better than might have been anticipated. The po'boys can be stuffed with shrimp (jumbo or popcorn), oysters or catfish — all fried, of course. There are six cornmeal-coated jumbo shrimp to a sandwich ($7.99); they're good and just a little spicy. Lettuce, tomato, pickle, and mayo are the default additions but, this being at heart a Vietnamese restaurant, there are several sauces on the table — from Sriracha to sweet chili and something similar to hoisin. Pick your poison. Inevitably, though, the banh mi winds up winning this artificial clash of cultures contest; it's simply a much more interesting (and seemingly healthier) product — and at $3.25 for any of the versions (pork, special combo, and chicken), it's less than half the price of all but the catfish po'boy. I'd toss more cilantro (and add a little Sriracha) into the mix that included grilled pork with marinated carrot, cucumber, and daikon, but otherwise, bravo. I'd sub kimchee soup for either of them, however.

Cajun Seafood & Sandwiches

6019 Rittiman Plaza
(210) 832-8814
10am-10pm Wed-Mon; Closed Tues


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