Monday, March 21, 2011

Gumbo Shop and Jacques-Imo's, NOLA

Gumbo Shop:  On Sunday Amy and I spent the day wandering around the French Quarter.  We stopped for lunch at Gumbo Shop on St. Peter St., where Amy had been a few times previously.  The French Quarter is known to be really touristy and Bourbon St. seemed to be filled with tourist trap restaurants and bars and strip-clubs, so I was pleased that Gumbo Shop was off of the main drag and quite reasonably priced.  We weren't able to get a seat in the outdoor courtyard, but the inside was quite nice anyway and it was OK to be in the shade for a bit on that hot day.  Amy ordered the Chicken Andouille Gumbo and I had a Creole Combination plate that came with shrimp creole, jambalaya, and red-beans and rice.
 Red Beans and Rice, Jambalaya, and Shrimp Creole
Amy and her Gumbo
This was my first creole/cajun experience and I thought my dish was really tasty.  The shrimp creole was in a reddish sauce with rice underneath but I was surprised that it wasn't spicy at all.  The jambalaya was piled in the middle of the dish and it was full of sausage, shrimp, and crabmeat.  I always envisioned creole food as having a bite to it, so I'm not sure if this was an oversight or if none of the dishes we had were supposed to be spicy.  I also remember that my shrimp creole was less than hot when it came out but it wasn't outright cold so, not a huge deal.  I would recommend the Gumbo Shop and a good place to stop in the French Quarter for anyone who does not want to get trapped in a tourist spot with bad food.

Jacques-Imo's:  On another night, Amy and I had a meal at Jacques-Imo's.  It was a Monday night but the restaurant was packed and we had to wait for an hour.  This actually worked in our favor because neither of us were starving and we were able to just relax with a drink on a bench in front of a bar next door called Maple Leaf Bar.  This was a good chance for me to try another local beer; I had NOLA Brewing Company's Blonde brew and quite enjoyed it.  
We got into the restaurant and had to walk through the kitchen to get to our table which was quirky and kind of cool.  I ordered the a stuffed catfish dish and amy got a fried drum with pecans. (Drum is a type of white fish) Both entrees came with our choice of two sides each and we both went with the corn maque choux and Amy had mashed sweet potatoes and my second was red beans and rice.  Our dishes also came with a house spinach salad with a fried oyster on the side and delicious corn-bread muffins.
 Corn-Bread Muffins above and Catfish below
Sorry these photos are so dark but the lighting in the restaurant was quite dim!  My catfish was delicious and had a generous amount of crabmeat stuffing underneath it, however I was a bit overwhelmed by all of the hollandaise sauce.  It was tasty but after a few bites I tried to avoid most of the sauce.  I would recommend Jacques-Imo's to anyone visiting New Orleans.  It has a great atmosphere and is nicely located uptown, tucked away from the tourist zones.  Be prepared to wait for your table though, and maybe plan to get there earlier than you want to eat to compensate for the wait!

Gumbo Shop:  630 Saint Peter St.  New Orleans, Louisiana,  (504) 524-0747
Jacques-Imo's: 8324 Oak St. New Orleans, Louisiana, (504) 861-0886


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