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[Photograph: Josh Conley]

I used to work very close to Snappy's Shrimp. People in the office would come back every so often raving about the food, and I'll admit, I was skeptical. I thought there may have been a certain amount of lazy bias in those critiques. Then one day I went for fried shrimp and fried scallops by the pound, and immediately began calculating the vast, crucial number of shrimp-hours I'd lost by doubting my co-workers. I wept a little in my cocktail sauce.

The Cajun Shrimp Wrap ($7.75), much like the place itself, just quietly and unpretentiously goes about the business of being awesome. Though initially bummed I couldn't get the shrimp fried, these boiled crustaceans actually have, no pun intended, snap to them. Andouille sausage, yellow rice, lettuce, tomatoes and Buffalo sauce round out the lineup.

Black pepper from the Cajun spices provides a deep, slow burn that outlasts the tangy, complementary heat of the Buffalo. The lettuce has a nice, simple crunch, and the rice is more flavor than filler. The tomatoes are like the French horn in this flavor symphony; you can't really hear them, but you feel better having them there.

Snappy's Shrimp

1901 West Irving Park Road, Chicago, IL 60613 (map)
773-244-1008

Josh Conley spent one Christmas on Easter Island out of sheer irony. When he's not eating and drinking, he can usually be found belittling his kids HERE.

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