The Cajun Experience
1825 18th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009Neighborhood:
CajunPrice: $30 and under
The Cajun Experience
- Dining Style: Casual Dining
- Website: http://www.cajunexperience.biz/
- Phone: 2026704416
- Hours of Operation:
Monday-Thursday: 400:pm -11:00pm,Friday 4:30pm-12:00am Saturday-Sunday: 11:00am - 12:00am
- Payment Options: AMEX,MasterCard,Visa
- Cuisine: Cajun
- Executive Chef: Chris Wright
- Dress Code: Smart Casual
- Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
- Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Entertainment, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Smoking Area, Smoking Area (patio only), Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wine
- Entertainment: Cajun, Zydeco, Blues and Jazz Music on Weekends.
- Special Events: Live Music Every Friday Night Brunch on Saturday-Sunday: Bottomless Mimosas ($15)
A word from The Cajun Experience
The Cajun Experience was featured in The Washingtonian magazine in "Best Bites", and less than a year later, June, 2010, was named one of the "Top 100 Best Bargain Restaurants" by The Washingtonian. The restaurant has also been featured in The Washington Post and The Washington Business Journal. In October, 2010, a second location was established in Purcellville, VA, and The Cajun Experience recently opened in the DC metro area.Continued
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The Cajun Experience reviews from OpenTable diners
- Service needs workOpenTable Diner Since 2009Dined on 6/22/2012We live near the Cajun Experience and have been there 3 times since it opened. All three times the food has been average, the cocktails are fantastic, but the service is terrible. Last week, they rushed us to order but when we asked for the check, it took 35 minutes to get it to us. Our waiter never came back to check on us, even though we would've ordered another round of drinks. It's not a big space and there were only 12 customers at the time, so I don't know why our waiter didn't check on us more. We gave this place a fair chance.... but after 3 visits, all with terrible service where we were ignored, my partner and I will not be returning.
- We started the evening withOpenTable Diner Since 2005Dined on 6/17/2012We started the evening with high expectations. The menu had a good selection, and the atmosphere was nice. Then, they were out one of the entrees that we wanted (this happens). Then they wanted to serve the entrees immediately upon delivering the starter (we resisted). Then one entree was served very cold...but fortunately it wasn't the entree we had ordered so it had to be replaced anyway. That entree (Gumbo) might have tasted better if a spoon had been provided with which to eat it. It's a shame there were so many low notes, on the food alone I would have given the restauarant another try.
- The food was amazing, as usual.jmuhcky01Dined on 6/16/2012The food was amazing, as usual. Our service was very sub-par. The waiter was very awkward and was unfamiliar with the menu and offerings. This seemed to be a common theme among the other servers at other tables as well.Special Features:
- Delicious food, though portionsOpenTable Diner Since 2006Dined on 6/15/2012Delicious food, though portions were a little small. Waiters are very friendly but extremely slow and unorganized.Special Features:
- We went early (6:15pm)so it'sDawnDined on 6/14/2012We went early (6:15pm)so it's probably not indicative of the noise level at a peak time. All the appetizers were fried; we had the fried green tomatoes which didn't have any flavor and gator bites which were pretty good. The crawfish ettouffee was a generous portion but the sauce overwhelm the small amount of rice and it was very rich. The crawfish in the ettouffee were moist and firm but the fried crawfish were dry and hard. Limited dessert choices. The food we had really wasn't at the level of most NOLA restaurants.
- Cajun Not ExperiencedMFDCVIPDined on 6/9/2012The Cajun Experience was so bad, it was comical. Things that they were out of: shrimp, vodka, rum, silverware (finally found silverware after about 10 mins). We ordered 3 separate items that they didn't have/couldn't make. Their fried green tomatoes were terrible. The steak Diane I got was about an inch thick and rare. After failing to find any other of their cocktails they could make, we went with their version of the hand grenade (much needed). My first one was green, second red?There were two servers. For one, it was his first day. The other was called in by the owner due to being understaffed, so she was first on his call list though you could tell by talking to her she had zero respect for the owner. The list just keeps going on....
- I have been to the Cajun ExperienceLizEVIPDined on 6/9/2012I have been to the Cajun Experience this past winter and had a much better experience than the experience I had this past weekend. The AC was broken, the food was awful and the service was slow. The server told us that they ran out of shrimp at 7:45pm. How is that possible if you are a Cajun restaurant and about 3/4 of the menu calls for shrimp? I have learned my lesson and will never go back again. Has the potential for being a great restaurant but they need to get their act together.
- Price is great...trying hard.eatwellDined on 6/7/2012Price is great...trying hard. Nice to be outdoors in back. Food really goodSpecial Features:
- See yelp. Avoid this place.landisoneVIPDined on 5/27/2012See yelp. Avoid this place. Food takes 45 minutes with an empty restaurant. It was blazing hot in the dining room. Don't waste your time.
- Diamond Food, Rough ServiceOpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 5/27/2012This place has some of the best tasting food but dont head down there unless you are willing to accept the absolute worst service. The only way it could be worse is if they made me serve them. The head bartender knows how to make a drink... I'm talking the classics. Ask for an Old Fashioned and you wont get the "Deer in the headlights" stare. It took over twenty minutes to place our order and then another 30 to 40 minutes before the food came. After getting our meal the waitress disappeared and we did not see her until we were ready to leave. Getting the check took another 20 mins or so. Again I love the food... You will to but you will need to plan accordingly with these guys.Special Features:
- May have caught them on a bad nightOpenTable Diner Since 2008Dined on 5/27/2012Service was okay, but the servers had a difficult time keeping up when dinner rush started. Major staffing problem as there was only one cook in the kitchen who was over-worked and turned what should have been a 60-90 minute visit into a 3+ hour extended dinner. Luckily the bartender was able to keep up with drink orders to make the long wait for food enjoyable. The food is good, but a little pricey for the quality and the long wait (you are basically paying for the ritzy location). Would probably go there again for lunch when the crowd is lighter, but definitely not a busy weekend / holiday night.Special Features:
- Wait staff was good but foodOpenTable Diner Since 2003VIPDined on 5/25/2012Wait staff was good but food very slow in arriving. Food was very average and we were overcharged on our bill for three different items.Special Features:
- The food was horrible - orderedfoodloverVIPDined on 5/20/2012The food was horrible - ordered eggs for brunch that came with a cajun sauce that was absolutely bad. Mimorsa's were weak and watered down. Not a good dining experience.
- Going Downhill... Fast!WillComeBackDined on 5/19/2012This was not our first time at Cajun Experience but it likely will be our last. Upfront - the food was fine and the service polite but the overall experience was perhaps one of the most bizarre in recent memory. When we first entered we were asked by three staff members if we had reservations (we did), to which they told us it was a good thing - otherwise we were not going to be seated. This took us aback because there were perhaps four tables seated in the entire restaurant. Our waitress then informed us that the chef had told them that they were not to take any walk-ins today (it was a Saturday night). She then seated us and as we were going to place an order, she listed off the food they did not have. It was a full half of the menu.
- Kitchen was understaffed soOpenTable Diner Since 2005Dined on 5/18/2012Kitchen was understaffed so food took a while to be served (over an hour). However, the food and live music were great.
- Worst experience ever--ruinedOpenTable Diner Since 2009VIPDined on 5/13/2012Worst experience ever--ruined Mother's Day!Staff extremely disorganized and explained half the staff walked out the day before!We ordered at least 6 things that were on the menu but we were told they didn't have, drink came out wrong,and when we finally found something to order they said they had, we waited over half an hour then they came back and said they didn't have that either. People all around us were also complaining and after almost 2 hours we finally left without ever getting any food. Owner wasn't even there.
- Not a Good Cajun ExperienceOpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 5/12/2012Our reservation was for 6:30pm on a Saturday but already the Cajun Experience no longer had some main menu items, like JAMBALAYA! Wow. I was stunned. Better have a couple, no three, menu selections. Appetizer arrived AFTER main course. Etouffee COLD. Coffee COLD. NO Abita beer on tap! Wait staff woefully deficient in explaining the basics of Cajun food when asked. Other staff seemed to continually approach our table asking how things were going, but when we candidly told them that they were not going well, like, where is our appetizer?... can we now have some silverware? they just faded into the woodwork. Very annoying..why ask if you don't care? VERY IMPORTANT: This bad experience happened at 6:30 on a busy Saturday nite!
- Not impressedOpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 5/12/2012Went for brunch, ordered steak & eggs med rare steaks, they came out well done took 15 minutes to get new ones. The chief came out to explain offered us a free meal when we returned. Server was slow. Everyone around us was unhappy. Only decent part were the weak bottomless mimosas they served.
- Just okOpenTable Diner Since 2003VIPDined on 5/10/2012Had the chicken and sausage gumbo, crawfish étouffée and hush puppies. They missed on 2 of 3. If you've been to New Orleans and had cajun/creole food there, you will be disappointed by this place.
- I went to the Cajun ExperiencemaujulieDined on 5/10/2012I went to the Cajun Experience on a Thursday night to dine with a friend. The restaurant was not very full but not as empty as certain reviews had suggested. Service was nice and attentive. I had the hushpuppies that were AMAZING!! Soft and tasty, it was the best item of the food I had. We also ordered a cup of the crawfish etouffee which was okay (not as fantastic as other reviews said). As an entree, I had the seafood gombo, which was good, but not spectacular. I'm no cajun/New Orleans food expert but I enjoyed my meal and had a good time with my friend. Might go back for those hushpuppies!Special Features:
- My husband and I loved ourOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 5/7/2012My husband and I loved our dinner at The Cajun Experience! We do not like very spicy food so we had a little trepidation trying it, but I have been longing for etouffe since a Louisiana-born friend made some for me. The Cajun Experience's etouffe was wonderful! I just kept saying - this is so good! Since I wanted to try more than one dish, the very helpful waitress suggested I have three things from the appetizer list instead of an entree. It worked out great! We also loved the chicken and sausage gumbo(my husband had the entree). A little spicier than the etouffe. I never got to the third appetizer because the portions were ample. In addition, the prices were reasonable! We will recommend this restaurant to all our friends.Special Features:
- Cute place, with excellentOpenTable Diner Since 2010Dined on 5/6/2012Cute place, with excellent hush puppies and Hurricanes.Special Features:
- Our group of four arrivedOpenTable Diner Since 2007Dined on 5/3/2012Our group of four arrived in two waves, both had trouble figuring out whether the entrance was upstairs or down. Althoght the restaurant bame is prominent, there is no indication of where the entrance is and doors are above and below street level. We arrived at 6:00. There were two other people eating, but the restaurant was out of the first two items we ordered, one of which (fried green tomatoes) was touted asa favorite. We were also taken aback to learn that soft drinks do not have free refills, particularly after the woman who was drinking them remarked that they were "all ice." The Cajun chicken wings were fiery and flavorful. The crawfish etouffe was good.
- Not quite the experience..HoyaHenDined on 5/2/2012This place has the potential to be a good restaurant but they definitely are not there right now. They were out of steak, out of beignets...I mean seriously you can't call a place "The Cajun Experience" and when people ask for the main stays they say they are out of them. This is not an experience that I would want to relive..give it a couple of months to get there stuff together.
- Wish they had more than oneOpenTable Diner Since 2008VIPDined on 4/29/2012Wish they had more than one vegetarian option for brunch. A girl doesn't always want pancakes. However, the mimosas are good, and the patio is nice. Wish they had some fans or shade. I don't burn easily but I got some color. On one side of my body.Special Features:
- The only interesting aspectOpenTable Diner Since 2006Dined on 4/29/2012The only interesting aspect of being there was the back patio on a sunny day.
- Great service !ValerieDined on 4/28/2012We went for my husband's birthday and we had a great evening. Our daughter was with us and they had a kid friendly menu. The drinks were awesome. Our waitress was phenomenal, I wish I could remember her name. She made our first time there great and we certainly will return there. I hear their brunch is great, so maybe that's next.Special Features:
- Servers were nice, I suppose,goodyVIPDined on 4/27/2012Servers were nice, I suppose, but waited about an hour and a half for our entrees to come out (about an hour just for the appetizer--fried green tomatoes & hushpuppies).Special Features:
- This place was alright. TheOpenTable Diner Since 2009VIPDined on 4/27/2012This place was alright. The drinks were strong (a plus), the hush puppies were disgusting, the crawfish mac and cheese was okay, but the jambalaya was great! I liked the live jazz too.
- The food was excellent. AsOpenTable Diner Since 2006Dined on 4/20/2012The food was excellent. As native New Orleanian, I can say that while it's not JUST like home, it's still really good food. That aside, two particular things rankled me. First, wewe had an 8:30 reservation, but our table was literally two feet from where the band was playing. When I kindly asked for a different table, the hostess seemed "out to lunch" because we had to wait another 45 minutes before being seated. This brings me to my 2nd gripe - the service. I'm not sure if the server was just overwhelmed or if he was new, but the service was REALLY slow.
- It was just alright. The foodOpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 4/14/2012It was just alright. The food was ok--heavy and greasy, which I guess is to be expected based on the Cajun influence. The service was good quality...when it came. We did a LOT of sitting around (we were there for 2 hours for brunch and there was only one other table there that came halfway through our meal). The bottomless mimosas are NOT worth it. $20 pp for mostly tang-like orange "juice" and a tiny bit of champagne.
- A cute, if somewhat spare,wineandfoodloverVIPDined on 4/11/2012A cute, if somewhat spare, decor. Food was very tasty, but $6 for three quarter-inch slices of fried green tomatoes? Seriously? Jambalaya was very tasty, yet the presentation was poor - a pile of jambalaya on a plate with no garnish at all. Same for the crawfish combination - etouffe was tasty and the fried crawfish were nicely seasoned and perfectly crispy. The beer menu consisted of five or six choices and the server couldn't tell me about any of them beyond the name. Overall, good taste, but ambiance, presentation and service were seriously lacking.
- I enjoyed the food qualityKennethJHolmesDined on 4/8/2012I enjoyed the food quality and preparation.Get some cocktail and tartar sauce and warm bread would be a nice touch. The waitress that we had was absolutely great. She was worth the trip. She was so helpful and kind.Special Features:
- Up and comer?madncqtDined on 4/7/2012The restaurant had a good number of open tables when we arrived at 1130am for our brunch reservation. We were not immediately greeted when we walked in. We sat outside on the back patio. It was a nice space and it was a pretty day. There could be a little more done for ambiance and decor on tha patio. The inside seemed well-appointed. My mom had shrimp and grits and I had the beignet pancakes. We were both happy. Her grits were very good. The two fried eggs I was served were a bit cold, but otherwise they were good. I recommend the pancakes. The service was spotty. The guy was very nice and well-intentioned, however he wasn't consistent with checking in, refilling coffee, etc. I had a feeling he could have been new, too.Special Features:
- ehhhhh...OpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 4/3/2012The food was only okay. I also found a metal piece in my dinner, which is dangerous. The staff did compensate me for it though so I guess that was a plus
- one hour wait for a poboyOpenTable Diner Since 2009Dined on 3/31/2012one hour wait for a poboy - catfish was very thin and overly salty. The bread was very much stale and dry. Our waitress was so quiet that we had to communicate in hand signals. I never saw a manager the entire time I was there (over 2 hours for a simple meal).
- We couldn't really tell aboutLauraUVIPDined on 3/31/2012We couldn't really tell about the noise since we went at 6:15 and it was fairly empty. The music was a little loud but they accomodated us and turned it down. I had the shrimp and grits and they were very tasty, with a thin layer of cheese on top. The seafood gumbo was only fair. The bread pudding was a little too dense but overall we enjoyed out meal.
- The food at The Cajun ExperienceOpenTable Diner Since 2009Dined on 3/31/2012The food at The Cajun Experience was delicious, no doubt about it. The crawfish étouffée for brunch was supposed to be served with eggs (and wasn't), but I didn't miss them. It was a hearty serving, chock-full of crawfish on big hunks of crusty bread. The $20 bottomless mimosa was heavy on champagne, which I love, though I felt a bit overpriced. The service was a real downside. While everyone was nice, the wait staff, bar and manager were clearly not on the same page. We went long times between seeing servers and even though there were only two parties dining, it took forever to get our food.Special Features:
- We were seated next to theOpenTable Diner Since 2008Dined on 3/30/2012We were seated next to the stage. While the blues band was good, my girlfriend and I could barely hear each other through our dinner. My gumbo was very soupy and barely had any taste. My girlfriend's jumbalaya, however, was delicious. Also, she wanted a Pims cup, and they were out of it - total buzzkill. A fine restaurant but I doubt I'll go back.Special Features:
- Stay away!OpenTable Diner Since 2011Dined on 3/30/2012We went on a Friday night for a 7:00 reservation. The restaurant is very small and terribly noisy. Far too many people jammed into a confined space. To make matters worse, they had a band in the dinning room, which made the noise unbearable. We coulndn't wait to get out of there. There service was ridiculous. Took 20 minutes to get our drinks, the starter we ordered wasn't hot, no salt & pepper on tables, and they were out of both of our wine choices. We will never go there again!