A popular Dallas food truck has taken that next big step: Ragin Casian, which made its debut in the food truck world in 2018, now has a big brother in the form of a brick-and-mortar restaurant, which opened in Carrollton on November 27.
Located at 1008 W. Hebron Pkwy., Ragin Casian dishes out a cool fusion of Asian and Cajun dishes - from po'boys to spring rolls, all done with an incredibly creative twist.
Nearly every dish on the menu feels like a revelation:
- There's mango chicken, an Asian restaurant staple, but here served over Cajun-fried rice.
- There's a hamburger, but it's a lemongrass hamburger with ground sirloin marinated in lemongrass and Asian spices, served on French bread.
- There's a jambalaya quesadilla, with chicken and Andouille sausage jambalaya served quesadilla style with jalapenos and cheddar cheese.
- There's a clever spicy noodle gumbo, combining elements of gumbo and pho.
Owners are Chris and Nam Liuzza, who both worked in the mortgage industry and share a restaurant background: Nam worked in restaurants for years, and Chris' family started Liuzza's Restaurant & Bar, a New Orleans institution, in 1937.
"Nam is Vietnamese, and we used our backgrounds to create a vision," Chris says.
They started out small with a food truck, and built a following. But they knew they wanted a destination restaurant, as well. Their priorities for location included a dine-in option, patio, and a drive-through, which they found in a former Dunkin'-Baskin Robbins location.
"It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because the Capital Hills neighborhood where we ended up has nothing like our place and we're getting a good reception," Chris says.
Best sellers include their thin and crispy catfish, made with a classic New Orleans approach; shrimp and oyster po' boys; and their "big ass chicken sandwich," in which the chicken is twice as big as the bun.
Among their most fusion-y dishes is their lemongrass beef tacos - "it's like a banh mi in a taco," Chris says.
They also do beignets with drizzled caramel and another one of their fusion must-haves: apple pie egg rolls, just like it sounds, crispy egg rolls with a glorious apple pie and cream cheese filling.
They've added a few new items for the restaurant including a towering seafood platter and boiled shrimp and crayfish in season. They'll also soon be offering breakfast.
"Ragin Casian" is their spin off of "Ragin' Cajuns," the nickname of the athletic teams at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and a popular Louisiana catch phrase.
"The name is a wordplay," Chris says. "We always joked about the idea of opening a restaurant: 'I'll do Asian, you do Cajun.'"