3261 Merrick Rd.
Wantagh, NY 11793
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Related to Mara's Homemade in Syosset, Mara's Too is serving up Arkansas barbecue and southern and cajun favorites. Located on a small strip on Merrick Road, we had no problem parking in the tiny adjacent parking lot on an early Saturday evening. We made reservations days in advance, unsure of how busy the place gets and although relatively empty at first, it filled up as we were getting ready to leave.
One surprise upon first sitting down is how large the menu is. The menu is filled with small plates, appetizers, salads, southern BBQ, Cajun, po' boys, sandwiches, burgers and specials. We all took such a long time figuring out what we wanted because everything sounded delicious!
We decided on 1lb of the Crawfish Boil, Shrimp Grits, Smoked Bourbon Braised Short Ribs, Kids Macaroni and Cheese, and other guests with us ordered Shrimp Grits and the Gator Po' Boy.
Our order was put into the waitress' iPhone--not a pen and pad in sight. It felt a bit strange, almost like she was messing around on her phone. Perhaps an iPad would've been different, I'm not sure, but at least they can say they are keeping updated with the available technology!
The crawfish boil came out first and tasted good, a decent amount of larger ones and nice spice.
Not before long, the rest of our food was brought out. Portions looked small, but everything was delicious. The shrimp grits were made of shrimp sauteed in garlic butter, served over cheese grits with a garnish of chives and crispy bacon. It was a nice combination of creamy and light, yet fatty and satisfying all at the same time. The short ribs tasted great, but the meat was way tougher than it should've been. When you read "smoked, braised short ribs" you expect falling off the bone, and instead it was pretty difficult to tear apart.
As for the other food, the kids Mac and Cheese has a blend of cheddar and parmesan cheese, so if you have a finicky eater who won't go near anything but Kraft, I'd probably skip it. It makes a great adult mac and cheese however, and is even available with crawfish on the regular menu! Just a note, most of the sandwiches don't come with a side other than a tiny thing of coleslaw so if you want fries, its an add-on.
We chose the Blue Grass Pie and Key Lime Pie for dessert, both were delicious. The Blue Grass Pie is a chocolate pecan pie with bourbon, and as good as it was, I was done after a few bites because it was so rich. The Key Lime Pie was light, tangy, delicious and really just a perfect key lime pie. Good ending to a meal.
Service throughout the night was good, but it could've been better. It took pretty long to get refills a few times, and there was a miscommunication with the dessert so the check ended up needing to be reprinted.
The people we were with asked for one Blue Grass Pie, and we ordered one as well, plus the Key Lime Pie. I guess the waitress thought we were reiterating their order and ordering the key lime for ourselves, but what we really wanted was two blue grass pies for the table and a key lime pie. The check was placed on our table with the dessert, and the waitress walked away before we could say anything, and it took so long for her to come our way again so we could say something.
Also, we were paying with a card, so the waitress put it through her phone, and I had to sign with my finger on her screen. When the receipt was brought over a few minutes later, it had a space for a tip but she brought no pen, since I had already signed digitally. I found one in my bag, so it wasn't a big deal, but I do have to say it was strange having her put my card through her phone. Ordering is one thing, having my financial information on a personal device is another. You be the judge.