Gumbo in Worcester -- worth a try
Last night we decided to check out Worcester's relatively new New Orleans-style restaurant, Gumbo. It's in a very nice below-street space on Water Street, in the revamped Canal District, which is becoming quite a good area for nightlife.
There's a bar/lounge area, where on a Wednesday night they had live jazz/blues. Very impressive list of craft beers on tap and by the bottle, plus a reasonable wine list and all sorts of cocktails.
The dining room has rock walls to simulate, maybe, the canal that used to be where Water Street is, It's a cozy room, with music just loud enough to mask the other tables' conversations.
The menu is rather extensive, and features all the N'Awlins things you'd expect -- gumbos, jambalayas, po' boys, etoufees, blackened this and that, etc. We assembled a meal for two out of a collection of appetizers, since we wanted to sample a lot of things.
The fried oysters were plump and juicy, properly coated with a crisp, thin cornmeal breading, and served with a nice remoulade sauce. Steamed mussels were delicious, with bits of onion, tasso, and andouille and a broth worth scooping up with shells. Fried green tomatoes featured the same cornmeal shell as the oysters and were topped with nicely blackened shrimp and more remoulade.
We had a nightly special of some blackened smoked sausage with mustard, and a green salad that was surprising in its size and quality, with a really fine house dressing. From about 8 choices on the dessert menu, we went with Bananas Foster, which was a solid rendition with plenty of ice cream and whipped cream.
All in all the quality was very high, prices moderate, and servings generous. The waitress was knowledgable and friendly, and the vibe very positive. We'll return.
The new incarnation -- Canal Bar and Grille -- has a menu that's half New Orleans, half generic. The New Orleans food is all I've tried, and it seemed just as good, if not better, than when they were called Gumbo. The waitress told us that one of the two partners left, necessitating a name change. It's still worth a try.