By sheer accident I found a restaurant on Calle Pez called ‘Gumbo’, which claimed to serve New Orleans cuisine or more precisely, Cajun and Creole inspired dishes.
I was immediately delighted and intrigued!
A) I haven’t found anything like this here in Madrid,
B) After visiting New Orleans and Memphis I have adopted a taste for such food,
C) If I ever owned a restaurant I vowed it would be New Orleans inspired, which would of course include the cuisine of that area.
So, all things considered I naturally jumped at the opportunity to sample what ‘Gumbo’ had to offer!
Firstly we frequented a few bars on Calle Pez, and passing Gumbo on the way we noticed it was quiet, albeit it was 8:30 – 9:00.
9:30, we headed over to Gumbo and although it was very busy by this time, we were seated immediately, which shocked me. I expected to wait another half hour at least.
The restaurant itself, décor and setting, is not overly inspiring, but it is clean and the staff were friendly and welcoming.
I had already perused the menu online, and part of the reason I was so excited to visit the restaurant was the lure of Fried Green Tomatoes, Gumbo and the Lemon Meringue Pie.
The Menu comprised of (all prices in Euros):
SEAFOOD GUMBO, typical New Orleans (8.75)
FRIED EGGPLANT (AUBERGINE), bathed in a Swiss and Parmesan Mornay (8.50)
FRESH SPINACH SALAD, shallots, blue cheese, walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette (8.50)
STUFFED MUSSELS, with garlic and breadcrumbs (8.00)
FRIED GREEN TOMATOES, topped with warm shrimp remoulade (8.50)
HOME MADE COUNTRY PATE, accompanied by caramelised onions (8.75)
GOATS CHEESE TOAST, with oyster mushrooms in a port sauce (8.50)
BARBECUED SHRIMP, with garlic and spices (15,50)
SHRIMP AND GROUPER CREOLE, sauteed with tomatoes and seasonings (15.50)
SOFT SHELL CRAB, with meuniere sauce and dirty rice, (16.00)
FRIED FREE RANGE POUSSIN, marinated in crystal hot sauce (15.00)
STUFFED PORK CHOP, with caramelized onions and bordelaise sauce (16.00)
BRONZED SIRLOIN STEAK, with garlic mashed potatoes (18.00)
ARTICHOKE AND SPINACH CREPES, with bits of toasted nuts (11:50)
LEMON MERENGUE PIE (6.00)
BANANAS FOSTER (6.00)
PEANUT BUTTER PIE (6.00)
PECAN PIE (6.00)
RASPBERRY BROWNIE (6.50)
The starters all sounded really tasty, albeit not all 100% authentic New Orleans, but nevertheless all worthy of sampling. The only problem for me was that I wanted the Fried Green Tomatoes, and the Gumbo; yet I had to make a choice! Annoyingly the Gumbo wasn’t available as a Main!!!!
I settled for the tomatoes and my vegetarian amigo ordered the Goats Cheese Toast. I cannot fault the tomatoes. They were superb; I thoroughly enjoyed them and would recommend them to anyone. The coating of the tomatoes although fried remained crisp; seemed to be a good bread-crumb come Polenta coating. The sauce was tangy and similar to a Tartar sauce rather than the Horseradish variety we had in Memphis, yet equally as tasty! The Goats Cheese offering though, was nothing special. In fact combined with the bread the mixture had become a little rubbery, and not pleasant to eat.
Swiftly onto the Mains. I ordered the Creole Shrimp and my amigo ordered the veggie option crepes. I have to say, it was enjoyable, but again for the price I didn’t think it was quite worth it. The shrimp was a decent enough dish, but not spiced or seasoned enough, it lacked that quintessential New Orleans va va voom! The crepes were again, edible, but ordinary! They were hardly an awe inspiring vegetarian choice.
Yet, to be fair this restaurant visit wasn’t strictly chosen because it held vegetarian delights; the reason for going there was to measure up their version of New Orleans against the real deal. So with that criterion in mind for what I alone had ordered, the scores on the doors stood at;
So, everything hinged upon the anticipated desert; Lemon Meringue Pie.
*Sigh* Desert let me down! My Lemon Meringue Pie was certainly NOT home-made; it reminded me of the frozen variety that can be purchased cheaply enough from any supermarket. It was lack lustre! The saving grace was the Pecan Pie my friend ordered; it was scrumptious and definitely home-made! The pastry base was just firm enough, breaking neatly under the pressure of the fork; the sweet, sticky syrupy, nut mixture topping was delightful!!! Thank God for Pecan’s!
Scores now stood at –
Desert (Meringue): 4/10
Desert (Pecan): 7/10
Anyway, all in all the bill came to roughly 75 Euros.
With all things considered I would say it was a tad expensive for a half measure New Orleans experience. The food could have been better; more authentic, more spice and season added, more vegetarian options, and that frozen pie desert not worthy of gracing a restaurants table (especially when this dining experience is being sold as something different).
The question is would I go again, and the answer is yes I probably would! The reason being is that I loved those Fried Green Tomatoes enough to ignore the other let downs, and go there to try something different on the menu! What a sucker I am!
Gumbo Restaurant, Calle Pez, 15
Tues-Sat: 14:00-16:00 hrs. / 21:00-24:00 hrs.
Sun: 14:00 a 16:00 hrs.
closed Sunday night and all of Monday
Check out Gumbo’s website for further details:
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© Bex Houghagen and The Savvy Senorita, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bex Houghagen and The Savvy Senorita with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.