Frosted mug best part
I love gumbo and seafood, so I was excited to go and try out the food at Gumbo Zydeco. The inside of the restaurant was clean and had a nice atmosphere with pictures covering the walls; however it lacked any type of music or other noise, it was dead quiet. I was greeted at the door and was seated by the hostess/waitress.
She took my drink order and promptly returned with my drink in a large frosted mug. I was already excited about this because not many restaurants use a frosted mug, and it really gets the drink cold, which I like. For the appetizer, I ordered the Rotel and shrimp dip, which the waitress explained to me as shrimp and Rotel in a Velveeta cheese sauce with chips on the side. I also decided to order my main course—the seafood gumbo.
Just before the appetizer came out, the waitress brought a small paper boat filled with complimentary hushpuppies and a remoulade sauce (roasted red peppers with onion and horseradish pureed and mixed with mayonnaise), which was quite good and got my hopes up for the rest of the meal. Unfortunately, this was the high point of the entire meal.
The shrimp dip came to the table, and I immediately noticed that it was not Velveeta, which is acceptable as a cheese dip. Instead, it was the neon orange canned nacho cheese. Not only was the dip of poor quality, it wasn’t even hot all the way through; the edges were warm and the middle was cold, which lead me to suspect it had been mixed together then warmed in the microwave and served as is, without even checking the temp before it was sent out. The chips were also a very cheap variety from a bag rather than cooked in house. I could forgive the dip if the gumbo was exceptional to make me forget about it, but it was not.
The bowl of gumbo they brought to the table was served like it normally is, with a cup of rice in the middle. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the hearty, chunky, filling soup I thought I was getting. Instead I got a bowl of brown sauce and about thirteen or so small pieces of shrimp and crawfish, and another eight pieces of sausage. There were zero chunks, or even pieces, of vegetables that you usually find in a classic gumbo, including: bell pepper, onion, tomato, celery and okra. According to the menu, it was supposed to have all of these vegetables. It tasted like they tried to make up for this lack of vegetables with salt, and the gumbo was nearly inedible because of it. At this point I was done here; I did not finish my gumbo or the dip.
Gumbo Zydeco is located next to Popeye’s in a strip center off of Weir Rd. I paid $11.95 for the gumbo, $6.95 for the dip and water is free, making the total $18.90 before tip. I would not recommend this place.
Hushpuppies to die for, po’ boy a nice follow-up
Wanting to try something different, I had heard about Gumbo Zydeco from a friend and decided to give it a try. Driving up to the restaurant, I noticed it is a casual nook in a shopping center mall. Upon walking in, the décor and atmosphere matched the casual outside look. I like casual places—they tend to be my favorites for flavorful food.
After being promptly seated and drink orders were taken, I began to notice how quiet it was in the restaurant. I could hear the ladies next to me talking, which I didn’t mind, but when they stopped, it turned deathly quiet. I felt as though I had to whisper the whole time. However, the frosted mug of tea I received made me begin to forget how quiet it is and enjoy the possibilities of what else they had to offer that was as magical as this.
After looking at the menu, and after the sticker shock on some of the items (this was not casual pricing), I decided on Rotel and shrimp dip and the Thursday lunch special (1/2 a crab po’ boy sandwich and chips).
The Rotel dip was described by the waitress as Velveeta cheese mixed with Rotel and shrimp with jalapenos to top it off. If there is anything I like more than cheese dip with salsa (see previous food review), it’s cheese dip with shrimp.
While sipping on my lovely frosted glass of tea and joking around with my fellow food reviewer, a plate of hush puppies with a horseradish sauce arrived at our table. I swear I almost cried when I took the first bite. The hushpuppies were a nice golden color, fresh from the fryer and had a good mix of cornbread to filler items. Usually hush puppies are dense, but these were light and surprisingly good because of that. The sauce that accompanied the hushpuppies was ok. I am not a fan of horseradish, but I ate this in small servings.
I only got to eat 2 hushpuppies before the Rotel dip arrived. I was startled at the bright orange-yellow color of the cheese; Velveeta cheese is not that color—canned cheese is. However, I was optimistic because maybe adding the shrimp or other ingredients changed the color. I grabbed a chip and realized we had store bought chips. Now I was beginning to doubt the cheese. Taking my store bought chip (note: I don’t mind store bought chips if they are of decent quality, these were not) I dipped into the cheese and took my first bite—canned cheese.
I was done eating the dip; I was not going to eat canned cheese and went on to finish the hushpuppies.
Just as I finished my hushpuppies, my meal arrived. The ½ po’ boy crab sandwich looked scrumptious. It was put together nicely on a French bread style loaf with lettuce, tomatos, onions and a creamy sauce. The chips it was served with was the equivalent of generic regular potato chips. I did not eat all of these chips. The sandwich was the one item on my plate that was light and tasty and worth talking about. You could taste the crab, and it was real crabmeat, even if it was canned. They had a nice blend of sauce and veggies to the crabmeat to make a nice tangy salad mix that really melded together well with the crisp bread. I am just saddened it was alongside really bad chips.
Overall, I would recommend getting an order from the specials menu, no appetizers. That way you get best part of the place: frosted mug, hushpuppies, po’ boy sandwich. My meal was $7.95 for the sandwich, $2.25 for the drink and $6.95 for the dip.