Lounge: n. - a room in a hotel, club, etc., for lounging, a couch with little or no back. v. - to pass time indolently; to move in an idle or lazy manner.

Well, the Crocodile Lounge is none of the above. It's not a room so much as a restaurant. There are no couches, with or without backs, but it is possible to lounge there if you really want to. Here's the thing: the Crocodile Lounge is such an amalgamation of nightlife possibilities that we're not sure exactly who will choose to go there.The word lounge in and of itself brings to mind things like Las Vegas and Wayne Newton, velvet - red velvet - cheap drinks and cheap dates. And hair pomade. Maybe a gold chain or two, a little chest hair creeping above the collar line - the extremely low collar line. It's a word that makes one want to throw on one's poop-kickers and go out for an evening away from the chilluns.

We just can't understand why a place like the Croc would want to put that word in its name. The Croc is an upscale dinner joint, or at least it tries to be. The Miller Lite sign hovering above the billiards shatters that ambience. The Croc's dinner prices far exceed the word lounge. Not that the food isn't worth the up-to-$17 prices.

The Croc is just about the only place in Salt Lake City where Cajun cuisine is available. It's also one of the only places that denotes mild menu items with an asterisk. Try the deep-fried pickles. We promise you'll like 'em, even if it's only for their "different" appeal.

The Crocodile Lounge has trees. Lots and lots of trees and vines and little lights and wooden ceiling fans. Kind of reminds one of the bayou, if you will. And it has crocodiles drawn on the menus.

J: I liked the trees at first because they felt strangely familiar. Then I didn't like them because they felt strangely familiar. I sat there trying to figure out what the deal was, then it suddenly dawned on me. You know Disney's cartoon version of Robin Hood? The one where Robin and Maid Marian are foxes? The Crocodile Lounge looks just like Sherwood Forest at night when the fireflies are buzzing around and the foxes are singing love songs. It kind of made me nervous. Especially when visions of PBS's Cajun Chef started entering the cartoons in my head.

L: What is that annoying chirping sound? Oh, wait. It's the ambience. They're crickets. Yup, the management has made this pseudo-swamp complete with sound effects. I honestly thought that this establishment was going to be a little different from what I got. I had visions of, you know, more swamp life. However, I did feel the need to speak with a slow Southern, if not Cajun, drawl and couldn't get the phrase "Shrimp gumbo, shrimp kabob, peanut shrimp" out of my head.

The Crocodile Lounge is a restaurant. No, wait! It's a bar. No, wait! It's a private club. No, wait! It's a new theme park! No, no . . . actually it's all of the above. It's just not really a lounge. Or a sofa for that matter.

The Croc has live music every night. That's pretty impressive. The unimpressive thing is that they charge a cover, and who wants to pay a cover just to get in, sit down and order an expensive meal? Not us. A bar thingy that size has no right charging a cover when the types of acts they invite are background music or at least filled to capacity the night we visited.

Does this review sound negative? It's really not. We actually quite liked the Croc. It is surprising, to say the least. We definitely recommend a visit, if only for those Southern fried pickles.