My wife and I used a Groupon to dine at Ragin' Cajun Piano Bar in downtown Alton over the weekend. The weather was harsh since Hurricane/Tropical Storm Isaac had made its way north, and they were having a slight issue with flooding in the downstairs restrooms, but they seemed to have a decent way of cleaning it up. Otherwise, everything about our visit was fantastic.
The entertainment usually starts between 9 and 10pm, and we arrived around 8, so there weren't a lot of people there yet, and our service was top-notch. Sally, our waitress, was very friendly and helpful, and our food was brought out in very decent time. I ordered the mussels appetizer, which was MUCH larger than I expected, and is made to share; I had it with the white wine sauce (red sauce is also available), and the mussels were large and tender. The garlic bread was tasty and toasted just right. My wife ordered the Bourbon Glazed Steak, which was large and tender, full of flavor. I had the Voodoo Burger, which was one of the best burgers I've had in a very long time -- thick and seasoned well, with mozarella cheese, jalapeno bacon, and a spicy voodoo sauce that had a nice sweetness to it. I almost couldn't finish it (but I love a challenge). Our sides were great, too; hush puppies for my wife, and sweet potato waffle fries with a honey mustard dipping sauce (great combo, BTW). We also enjoyed the house-made bread pudding, which is reminiscent of a funnel cake without being heavy with grease, and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top. Fantastic.
This place is halfway between a dive bar and charming restaurant with its own unique character; seriously, right smack in the middle. The kitchen stays open late, and the later the night, the larger and crazier the crowd. There's a great view of the stage from pretty much anywhere inside, with seating on the ground floor and in the balcony, and the piano players do a great job of working the crowd and getting everyone involved -- having worked in improv comedy myself, I can tell you that if you really don't want to be called on, don't sit near the stage. They do all they can to get the crowd to participate, but they don't get obnoxious about it, which is a great way to get everyone to enjoy the show. The decor was somewhat forgettable, if you don't count the section of airplane in the dining room, which is pretty cool, and the mini leg lamps on the pianos.
HUGE selection of drinks, so there's no shortage of variety, and with the quality of the food, you really can't go wrong at this place.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.