Chasin' Tails - The Whole Dang Thang
As the weather warms up, there is no better way to enjoy the spring than heading to a sports bar with incredible southern seafood and a twist on a backyard BBQ. I know what you're thinking. Leah, you're crazy. Enter, Chasin' Tails. This place brought me back to my childhood and summer outdoor barbecues immediately upon diving into our first bite. (More on that later). The Chasin' Tails concept is centered around fun, friends, family and food. Crawfish is their signature item, but they also offer a variety of seafood like shrimp, lobster, oysters, crab, and fish.
We were invited into their Arlington location recently to put on a plastic bib and dig down into the ultimate Backyard Boil Experience. As we began our tasting, it was the perfect time to be there because Chasin' Tails has TV's hanging all over the restaurant and they happened to be covering the NCAA March Madness tournament. It was the ultimate combination of a family dining space mixed with a sports bar feel. On every table you'll find brown paper tablecloths which clearly indicated to us that dinner would most likely be a messy one. The waitress greeted us and immediately wrote her name down as that is a signature move to allow guests to feel comfortable with their waiter/waitress upon being seated.
We started off with a three pair sample of "Off the Bayou" signature menu items. We sampled the Crawfish Étouffée, Creole Jambalaya and the Seafood and Sausage Gumbo. The Crawfish Étouffée had a small kick to it, but was incredibly flavorful with the perfect cajun spice. We really wanted a bowl of this but had to hold back because this was just the start of our tasting! The Creole Jambalaya was hearty but felt like it may have been sitting out for awhile so we would definitely try it again in a bigger dish. The Seafood and Sausage Gumbo was more of a soupy texture, with a LOT of spice in such a small bite. It definitely sent me asking for more water but we enjoyed the mix of seafood in this dish.
Our waitress then brought us a big bowl of Crawfish Mac N' Cheese (pictured below), also a part of the "Off the Bayou" menu. This was a rich, creamy mix of cheesy pasta and cajun crawfish. I would call it Mac and Cheese with a flair because of the cajun mixed in.
After the first course, we decided to jump into the "Backyard Boil Experience".
Our waitress brought us plastic bibs with a red crawfish on it and plastic gloves to prepare for this fun, messy experience. Just to give you a little background, Chasin' Tails offers a family style dining that showcases the traditional backyard boils that take place in Louisiana during crawfish season. The Backyard Boil Experience starts with the Bayou N' A Bag. Guests get to choose the seafood, a.k.a the "Catch". To make this signature item, they boil your choice of seafood separately and then throw the seafood into the clear, plastic bag and into a metal bucket. We picked shrimp as our catch of the night. Chasin' Tails lets you pick one of their four signature "Style" sauces. We picked the "Oh Dang" sauce which was a combination of all three sauces on the menu --- original cajun, garlic butter, and lemon pepper. We don't know how they make this sauce taste so good but man, it was mouthwatering. The sauce gets added into the bag with the seafood catch along with a potato and corn on the cob. This bag is then brought out in the bucket and served to guests and we are simply told to dig in with all hands on deck. As someone who has no patience, Blake helped with breaking the shells off of all the shrimp as I started to indulge in the potatoes and corn. I don't know how to describe the Bayou In A Bag meal other than saying -- you need to go yourself and try this amazing, delicious dining experience. The combination of the cajun seasoning and lemon were so tasty and the potato and corn melted in your mouth. Get in your car and go now.
The most surprising part of the evening? One of the managers recommended we try their hot wings. We were hesitant at first since they are known for their seafood but we decided why not. We ordered a half dozen wings (pictured below) with their cajun sauce on the side. These wings are cooked halfway through, then marinated with homemade cajun sauce and sent back to finish cooking. These bad boys were absolutely amazing!!! I wish we could have had 2 dozen more. Coming from a family of wing connoisseurs back in Northeastern PA, I always grew up in an area of local, family-owned wing joints. These wings were crispy on the exterior with just the right amount of crunch, and a bold amount of cajun flavor. U-N-R-E-A-L.
Blake paired the wings with Chasin Tail's signature beer- Abita Andy Gator Beer. It brought him back to the Hofbräuhaus Beer Garden in Munich, Germany. Let's just say, he enjoyed it very much. If you love a good beer, you gotta give it a try!
Next, we tried some of their delicious Fried Fixins. Blake saw that they had Gator Bites on the menu and was so curious how they would taste. So we got the "Whole Dang Thang" (pictured below). Boy, was this a lot of food especially after what we already ate. The "Whole Dang Thang" is a behemoth pile of fried shrimp, fried calamari, fried gator bites, and fried catfish fillets served over their Cajun fries with their signature dipping sauces. It was like the Holy Grail of fried seafood!! Blake raved over the catfish fillets and said they were the best catfish he's ever had. The gator bites were good too! They tasted like chewier chicken. So if you come to Chasin' Tails with a bigger party, we definitely recommend you getting the "Whole Dang Thang"!
To finish off the night (even though we could barely eat another bite), we had to try their Fried Cheesecake (pictured below) with Vanilla Ice Cream drizzled with caramel and chocolate syrup. Blake is not usually a fan of cheesecake, but he really enjoyed this dish!! The crunch of the cheesecake with the warm, delicious interior was an incredible combination paired well with the vanilla ice cream. This dish should be in the dictionary under mouthwatering! They then gave us a plate of homemade, warm Beignets that were so light and airy with the perfect amount of powdered sugar dipped in their homemade strawberry sauce. Talk about delectable!
As you can see after reading this review, we really did enjoy our experience at Chasin' Tails and encourage all seafood and non-seafood lovers to come out and indulge in this inviting and family friendly venue! Chasin' Tails has two locations, one in Arlington and one in Centreville. The one in Arlington that we visited is located at 2200 N Westmoreland St, Arlington, Virginia. To learn more about the history of Chasin' Tails or what they have to offer, visit their website!
*The Crawfish and Whole Dang Thang Pictures were taken from @chasintailsva Instagram