>> The Gumbo Bros | Eat the World NYC

02 August 2017

The Gumbo Bros


The popup to bricks and mortar phenomenon has taken hold quite a few times in New York City, but is rarely the type of experience written about here on these pages. One 8-month old restaurant in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn has convinced us otherwise though, offering a very simple menu of gumbo and po' boys, the staples of Louisiana cuisine these "brothers" grew up on.

The simplicity of the menu is also its strength. And in all serious, who really needs more than the three items listed on the storefront: gumbo, po' boys, and cold beer? The third item in that list is catered to mostly by Abita, Louisiana's favorite brew.

During a couple visits last month, it was apparent that the early hubbub from the New York Times review had died down, but the tiny restaurant had settled into a rhythm of catering to its neighbors. A diverse group of Americans were coming in for orders, mostly for takeout.

The name of the establishment gives a good hint where to start with an order. The gumbo comes in two meat options and one vegan. On the menu, they note that the vegan version is important for Good Friday fasting in Catholic households across the deep south. A quaint story for sure, but the call of protein won out on this order of cajun chicken & sausage gumbo ($12, below).

The creamy dark base of the stew comes from a much-loved two day roux, an oil, flour, and fat thickener. The sausage adds the most taste to the mix, but shredded hunks of chicken are definitely not afterthoughts. If the heat scale is dialed back too much for New York City palates, handy bottles of Louisiana-made Crystal hot sauce are on every table.

The tastes that hit your mouth while eating the catfish po' boy ($12, below), are all straight from the south and very familiar to those who grow up on them. For me, there was no emotion biting through the bread shipped in from a New Orleans bakery, the Mississippi-raised catfish, or the South Carolinian mayo, but I could get excited for those that would feel more. In New Orleans, if your po' boy did not have the right kind of bread, an emotional person might slap it right out of your hand. Luckily there is no risk of that here.

The fried fish is obviously the highlight, and should be just like the fried shrimp in the other version they offer. The only complaint might be about the underwhelming iceberg lettuce and pale tomato that could be removed if they were not carrying so much of the good mayo. The fish is done very well, ready to magically melt in your mouth. The spice seems to come from the crispy fried batter, but again that little bottle of Crystal is ready just in case.

Our tiny bowl of $6 crawfish mac n' cheese (below) was enough to probably not order sides in the future. The tiny pieces of crawfish were scarce, everyone took a bit or two and returned to their stews and sandwiches. On another visit requiring a side, a short inquiry to the chef might be wise to see what is better on the day.

The location is convenient enough for people working in the government buildings of downtown Brooklyn or on jury duty. I have found that I rarely have time for the delicious Yemeni restaurants when I am around here and usually end up at The Soul Spot. Having another option for a great lunch is definitely an improvement for downtown and Cobble Hill customers.

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The Gumbo Bros Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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