Kickin’ Kajun Kapolei, Hawaii (In Ka Makana Alii)
Hawaii is a melting pot of cuisines and Cajun food is no exception. In fact, Cajun and Creole seafood dining fit right in with Hawaii’s culture – well, at least the way Kickin Kajun does it.
The seafood bag, gloves, bib, and dig right in style of eating is a hit here on the islands. Why? Is it because we just love to eat?
Well, it’s more than that. Here, it’s also about spending quality time with the Ohana, merry-making, and conversation around the dining table. Getting your hands dirty, cracking open crab legs, fiddling with crawfish, seafood juice squirting in your eye is the bonus when you eat at a Cajun seafood restaurant.
Kickin’ Cajun just opened up their newest restaurant in Hawaii’s newest mall Ka Makana Alii in Kapolei. So, of course, the family and I had to eventually get our hands dirty and stomach filled with some seafood.
We decided to walk-in to on on a Thursday night. They don’t do reservations so it’s on a first come first served basis. The dining room was pretty much filled but I guess our timing was perfect because they had a table open for us. The people who trickled in didn’t seem to have needed to wait either before getting a table. I would imagine the wait to be longer on busier days like the weekend.
The ambiance is alright. I mean, a dining room full of people eating with their hands and making a mess on the table makes it feel comfortable and welcoming (just like home hehe). They do have a full bar. There’s no form of entertainment like a television or anything but I guess the goal for them is to get their diners in and out as quick as they can.
The menu consists of the typical Cajun seafood restaurant items – shrimp, crawfish, crab, mussels, clams, catfish, lobster, oysters and of course Po’ Boys! Typical sides of rice, fries, potatoes, coleslaw, etc., and unique ones like sausage is available for order to go with your main.
They also have their fried basket choices – fried popcorn shrimp (which we had), fried oysters, and a unique one, fried ALIGATOR tail (which we want to try). The baskets come with a choice of side – fries or onion rings. And for the french fries, you have a choice of various flavorings like garlic and truffle fries. We had the truffle fries and the flavor is there, nothing to be blown away about, though.
We also order the crawfish and shrimp combination with our side choices of sausage and rice. We were given a few choices of flavorings and spice level. We went with their signature sauce and the mild variation. We wanted to see what their signature sauce had to offer.
The service was alright, par I would say. We didn’t expect much from a place like this, but a little more tentativeness would have been nice.
The combination of seafood came in a plastic bag where they shake it up to toss it in the sauce when they serve it to you. It was delivered nice and steaming hot with the fragrance hypnotizing you to just dig in with your plastic gloves and go to town. The sides came in disposable styrofoam plates/bowls. I guess the reasoning this is to keep the cleanup as easy and quick as possible. So, do expect elegance when dining here.
The flavor of the accompanying sauce was very subtle. It could be a good or bad thing. The good thing is that it doesn’t overwhelm the seafood flavor. Being so, the bad is that it doesn’t differentiate them from other Cajun seafood restaurants that are out there.
The quality of the cooked seafood was par as well. At a restaurant like this, I imagine the seafood being cooked in batches and held in a warmer of some sort and served when ordered. The quality of the shrimp was kind of evident of this.
My verdict is everything was pretty average. If you’re in the mood for seafood, Kickin’ Kajun is a place to go to fulfill it. Would I go back? Yes, maybe to try the fried alligator tail and perhaps when my craving for seafood comes around (which is once or twice a year maybe for me). But, other than that, nothing would really draw me back.
The prices were on point for the type of food and service that they provide, but value is what lacked. If I think about it, I can dine at other restaurants located in the mall and get more value for the same price I paid for at Kickin’ Kajun.
So, if you’re craving nothing but seafood and shellfish, Kickin’ Kajun is a viable place to eat out with the family. It will satisfy your craving.
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