The Shack: casual cajun cooking that packs a delicious punch
The Shack Seafood & Oyster Bar is located at 303 NW 62nd Street in Oklahoma City (map). They are open 7 days a week from 11am to 10pm (11pm on Friday and Saturday). Call them at 405.608.4333 or visit their Facebook page.
At this Cajun food restaurant, the servers wear shirts touting “It’s Just a Shack,” and they aren’t kidding. But this is a good thing.
The first thing you notice when you walk through the door at The Shack is its incredibly unpretentious atmosphere. Don’t expect fine wine sipping here. The casual, nautical decoration gives the place a laid-back feel that is welcoming. The tables are comfy and well-spaced, flat screen TVs are conveniently placed and give the place a little class, and the noise gives the restaurant a full feeling without being too loud for conversation.
On a Friday night, the place was packed with locals who parked on the surrounding grass when the parking lot filled up to get a taste of what some had previously told me is the best casual seafood in town.
Be aware, the place doesn’t look like much from the outside (see a picture). It is definitely off the beaten path, and people driving by likely wouldn’t think of the building as a prime restaurant space. But what the space lacks aesthetically, it makes up for in taste.
We ordered an appetizer of hush puppies ($2.50 – see a picture) and my husband was thrilled to see they had Abita beer — a win in the truly authentic Louisiana Cajun department. The puppies were crisp on the outside and warm and soft on the inside, so pretty much what you should expect. But the true star on this plate is the red sauce with a kick served with the hushpuppies. Dipped in that sauce, the ordinary hushpuppies became a real Cajun treat.
I ordered a bowl of red beans and rice ($5.95) and a side salad ($2.99) with the house dressing. Note: being on a diet while reviewing a restaurant is a daunting task. But, I figure people are interested in some healthier options anyway.
The salad was pretty average, a decent size and mix. Certainly nothing special. The house dressing was pretty original — some olive oil mixed with a variety of olives. It was fairly oily (obvious, I know) but the little bits of olive in the salad really brought together all the flavors for a great bite. Overall, I was just happy to see a unique house dressing and was pleased enough with the salad. I think if a bit of balsamic vinegar had been thrown in to cut the oil, it would have been better.
The red beans and rice were memorable and would definitely call for a return trip alone. The broth was thick, the beans were cooked well and the rice came on the side allowing you to combine it on your own to prevent mushiness. Personally, I would have preferred less sausage in the mix since the meat didn’t have much flavor of its own. I picked most of the sausage slices out. But the beans and rice had a great flavor and the perfect amount of kick so I could eat the whole bowl without my mouth being on fire.
My husband got the seafood jambalaya ($13.99 – see a picture), and I can say without a doubt that this is the best I have ever had. The rice was sticky but not mushy; the chunks of seafood were big, fresh, and well-cooked; and the grilled onions and peppers gave the dish a little kick while adding some needed texture. The dish came with a side of French-style green beans. They were flavorful, though I wish they offered a choice of sides of instead of a pre-selected one.
I will say, this was not a cheap meal. We spent about $55 on two entrees, an order of hushpuppies and two beers, and my meal wasn’t even a seafood dish. While I think the quality of food was worth the price, the cost alone will likely limit my appearances. That said, I think it is on par with similar offerings around town (Pearl’s, for instance).
The service was present when needed but not overbearing. Our drinks were never empty, and really, on a busy Friday night, what more can a patron ask for?
We were too full for dessert, but I liked the whimsy of having root beer floats on the menu, along with other more traditional offerings.
Honestly, I can’t wait to go back. Have you been? Let us know what you think about The Shack in the comments below.
You can view more pictures from The Shack Seafood & Oyster Bar in our Facebook photo album.