Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Houston >
Jun 17, 2010 08:26 AM

Gumbo in Houston

Any suggestions on where to find really good Cajun gumbo? I live on the western edge of Montrose.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The only gumbo I ever ate more than once was at Tommy's Seafood in Clear Lake. I think they opened another location near the Galleria. The Tommy's in Clear Lake is now closed from what I understand so you might want to call before you venture to the other location.

    Boudreaux's gumbo is decent. I just prefer my own except for Tommy's which was very similar to mine.

    1. Depends on what you mean by good - thick-thin?, etc. Seems to me gumbo is to people from Louisiana like chili is to Texans - everybody's got their own idea of what's good and nobody makes it as well as they do! More power to 'em. I've eaten gumbo all over Houston and never had two the same, and most Cajun places here are owned by people from La, although some of 'em have been here for decades.

      In your area, BB's on Montrose - I presume they have gumbo although I haven't had it. Calliope on Jefferson just east of 59 downtown (and in everything I've had, better than BB's). Mardi Gras up on Durham just north of Washington - I haven't had this one so can't comment. There's also a new place I've heard about up on Studemont or Studewood in the Heights, Big Mamou - haven't been but gets some good reviews.

      Also might try Tony Mandola's on W. Gray in River Oaks - might have gumbo, I don't know.

      All of these except Big Mamou have websites that I know of and that one may - I just haven't looked.

      trt: b4 shows the Tommy's on Westheimer - way out past the Galleria - as closed but the one on Bay Area Blvd. open?????

      6 Replies
      1. re: dexmat

        I don't know about either Tommy's for sure. I thought Clear Lake was closed and Westheimer was still open. I don't even remember where I read that. But before I'd go, I'd call.

        To me, gumbo is about the flavor, not the thickness. Not the flavor of the meats or veggies but the flavor of the juice they cook in which would vary if it were chicken or seafood gumbo. It cannot be just spicy hot. Water with Tabasco is not gumbo and some places will pass it off as such (Rajin' Cajun). The heat should never be the first thing that you think of when eating it. The flavor has to overpower the heat. You should like it enough that you would remove the meat and vegetables and eat the rice and juice only and still think it was wonderful. I've found that 90% of the "cajun" places can do other things really well but fail in the gumbo department. Bad gumbo won't stop me from going to those places because there are just so few places with really good gumbo that would make me say "let's go get some gumbo at ......... ".

        I have friends from all over the south that call in advance to let me know they're coming to town and that they expect some gumbo :-) and they bring ice chests to carry some home with them.

        1. re: texasredtop

          Thanks for the elucidation. I've never thought that gumbo was about the heat but I did think thickness was a bone of contention to many. I do remember the first time I had gumbo at Floyd's, many years ago, I was surprised at how thin it was - but it sure was good! Since then I know I've had rather thin gumbo at Calliope. I did remembered I had it at BB's long ago and wasn't impressed so never had it again but I can't remember just why. I don't think I ever had the gumbo at Ragin' Cajun; maybe i was smart enough to not even try it LOL. Never had it at Boudreaux's.

          1. re: dexmat

            I think I had gumbo at Floyd's once too. I think it came with my lunch. I don't remember it being bad at all. The only thing at Floyd's that I would never get again and get nauseous thinking about is their dirty rice. Yikes! That was some nasty stuff. I was shocked. Boudreaux's has a nice dirty rice, not as good as mine though :-) but I put a little roux in mine to make it stick together so Boudreaux's dirty rice is much better for you.

        2. re: dexmat

          I looked up Tony Mandola's Gulf Coast Kitchen on W. Gray since I plan to go soon. Yes, they have gumbo.

          1. re: dexmat

            I love Mardi Gras Grill, however I had their chicken and sausage gumbo maybe five years ago, and it was terrible. The flavor was not there, and the chicken was cubed, really weird. I haven't had it since had it since A friend of mine and I went to Calliope's a few weeks ago, and while we enjoyed the gumbo, It was different from whatI I would call a classic gumbo.

            Mardi Gras Grill
            1200 Durham, Houston, TX 77007

            1. re: James Cristinian

              Exactly my point about a restaurant being good with everything cajun BUT the gumbo. I think a good gumbo is made by an experienced cajun cook with love. It's not a "recipe" type dish so it's a learned thing and it can be screwed up easy by someone that is not into making something people will love.

          2. I like the thin gumbo. Danton's in Montrose and Denis on the Katy Fwy both do it well.

            1. I agree that gumbo is a very individualized sort of food. There are so many different recipes, and different formats, if you will, as well. Most gumbos use a reaux, but not all do. Some are seafood only, and some have no seafood at all. And all of these are arguably Cajun.

              I've tried seafood gumbos at various Houston restaurants and most are "just okay." Some are downright awful. Probably the best I've found so far is at Captain Tom's. They have two locations I know of -- one on 1960 and the other on I-10 in the Katy area. But even so, I'd only rate Captain Tom's as "good" or perhaps "above average."

              The best gumbo I've ever eaten is the way my wife, who is a trained chef, makes it. She bases her gumbo loosely on Paul Prudhome's seafood gumbo with andouille sausage recipe. But she adds a few of her own "secrets" that makes it a truly stand-out gumbo. A few years back, we were invited to cook gumbo for a crawfish festival in Wimberly, Texas. We made over 15 gallons, and sold every last drop. People were coming back for seconds and thirds.

              I think the reason why it is difficult to find a truly memorable gumbo is because of the cost of ingredients. My wife and I have determined that it costs us about $40 to make an 8 qt pot of gumbo. Obviously we don't skimp on ingredients. And we buy some of our more expensive ingredients wholesale! With food costs that high, a restaurant would probably have to charge around $10 for a decent-sized bowl. And I suspect that's why it's hard to find a really good bowl of gumbo.

              If you pick up a copy of Paul Prudhome's _Louisiana Kitchen_ and follow his seafood gumbo recipe, you'll have a truly outstanding gumbo. Better than you'll be able to find in any restaurant I know of.

              1. Goode Company Seafood's is most like the one I grew up eating--dark, thick, and full of good seafood.

                Goode Company Seafood
                10211 Katy Fwy, Houston, TX 77024