Thursday, July 31, 2014

Nothing Boring About A Cajun Shrimp Burger

Mason’s Grill
13556 Jefferson Hwy.
Baton Rouge, LA

Mason’s Grill is the embodiment of everything I love about the state of Louisiana -- the best state in America for eating.

End of discussion.

Even at an ordinary-looking non-descript place on the outskirts of Baton Rouge like Mason’s you can find something extraordinary to light up your taste buds.

I mean, this isn’t the kind of place I normally seek out.

There is nothing historic or quaint about it. It’s not some Travel Channel dining landmark.

Mason’s has no divey charm or scary clientele.

It’s just a boring looking restaurant with a big parking lot filled with pickups sitting by the side of the road patronized by local families out for a good meal.

But looks can be deceiving -- especially in the Bayou State where “a good meal” is almost never boring.

There is nothing boring about chowing down on giant dangerous reptiles -- especially the way Mason’s prepares alligator.

While I enjoy my oversized lizards fried as much as any red blooded heterosexual American male, you have to try your gator blackened just once in your life.

This alligator was generously seasoned with Cajun spices, perfect with the tangy New Orleans style remoulade dipping sauce.

Tender, juicy and packing a nice kick, Mason’s blackened gator was like a Mardi Gras parade in every bite.

So does gator taste like chicken?

Well, yeah. Kind of.

Like a swampy, greasy, delicious chicken.

While the gator is top notch, the real reason to come to Mason’s is for their famous Cajun Shrimp Burger.

This burger is epic!

A half pound of fresh ground beef spiked with jalapeno peppers is then sautéed in more jalapenos and Cajun spices.

But I’m pretty sure that is not even half of this burger’s caloric overload.

The burger is topped by a molten lava concoction of gooey Monterey Jack cheese and shrimp.

Yes. Shrimp.

On a burger.

How awesome is that?

Pretty damn awesome as a matter of fact.

And these aren’t those lame little cocktail shrimp I was expecting.

We’re talking big plump local Gulf Coast shrimp. The real deal.

The cheese/shrimp topping was thicker than the half pound burger -- and oozed appetizingly with every delicious bite.

Fortunately, Mason’s uses an industrial-sized sourdough bun fresh made from a bakery in Houston to keep it all together.

Too often these epic sized burger/condiment combinations transform into an epic failure because the buns just can’t stand up to the meat/cheese/grease assault.

But not here. Mason’s has mastered the art of burger structural integrity.

Cooked exactly the way I asked for it -- a nice medium pink with plenty of juices flowing, the burger featured a harmonious yin and yang of sweet and spicy.

The jalapenos in the beef let their presence be known, but never turned my mouth into an inferno of spice.

The jack cheese and shrimp lended a perfect sweet balance to the Cajun spices.

Definitely a Suit757 burger Hall of Famer. For sure.

Along with a side of first rate onion rings, I had trouble finishing my meal. And that’s saying something.

My bartender said most folks don’t finish the burger. And most folks don’t start with a whole appetizer of gator either.

But then again most folks ain’t Suit757.

I’m a professional after all.

The beer selection at Mason’s was decent -- for Louisiana -- a state with among the least adventurous tastes in craft beer.

Proving that Louisianans are all about the food -- not the drink, the local Canebrake from Parrish Brewing Company in Lafayette was just a bland boring wheat beer with a sweet aftertaste.

Canebrake just adds further proof to my theory that wheat beers are brewed for people who don’t actually like the taste of beer.

So much for trying new local beer I’ve never had before.

So I switched to the familiar.

Mason’s sports a nice lineup of Abita beers from the brewery down the road in Abita Springs.

I opted for my favorite Abita -- Turbo Dog.

First of all, it’s fun just telling the bar tender, “I’ll take a Turbo Dog.”

The dark heavy ale is a perfect foil to the Cajun spiced delicacies you can find on just about any menu in this state.

Even at a mundane looking place like Mason’s.

Sure, it would make for a more entertaining story if I could tell you I risked my life walking into a smoky biker bar with heads turning, beady eyes glaring, fingers on switch blades twitching as soon as I swung upon the saloon doors.

But you know what? I’ve been to enough of those places.

Sometimes it’s nice to nice to know a suit doesn’t have to risk his life to get an epic burger.

Rating: Bought the Shirt!

Mason's Grill on Urbanspoon

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