Tuesday, November 25, 2008

J Gumbo's

With Ozzy in preschool (big boy!!), Fred and Libby had a rare opportunity for a quick weekday lunch. After hearing of the combination of good beer and cajun, we decided to try this 2nd attempt at reinventing BW3's old downtown location. Upon entering, we were immediately greeted by the take-out counter -- a confusing holdover from the restaurant's first incarnation. Once it was explained that we could either order and then sit down or sit first and order from a waitress, we decided on the latter. The tasteful, upscale decor only served to make the front counter that much more out of place.

Libby excitedly ordered a Brugge Triple de Ripple while Fred begrudgingly chose an iced tea, it being a working lunch. He regretted his decision immediately after tasting, suspecting that the tea came from a bag. Not a teabag, mind you, but a concentrate one. Bad form.

After skimming over the simple menu, we violated our own rule by both ordering our favorite cajun staple, crawfish etouffee. At only $5 a bowl, a true steal. We were quickly presented with a small but adequate portion of simple white rice covered in a brown crawfish gravy and a piece of garlic toast. While not unpleasant, we were both nonplused. Although an etouffee is always mild in spice (assuming that the patron will add their own), there should always be a depth of flavor. Not only was the rice undercooked, but the flavor of the etouffee was muddied and lifeless. Bad food, and in such small portions!

Simply because the food is cheap does not mean one's expectations are. It's surprising that a product like this would keep even a regional chain such as J. Gumbo's afloat. With exceptional competition in town from Yat's, they will be hard pressed to stay in business for long, even with their extensive beer selection.

Wrap Up
Price-$, A very cheap downtown lunch location.
Atmosphere-***, Apart from the out of place front counter, the actual decor was tasteful and comfortable. Would be a **** considering the price
Service-**, Fast, yet with only one server for the whole room, she was unable to keep up with clearing tables.
Fred -C+, Saved only by the beer selection. But I will most likely be back to sample a different cajun staple.
Libby - C, My beer was the saving grace. While the etouffee wasn't horrible, it wasn't enough to bring me back again.
Ozzy - N/A

J. Gumbo's  on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

The Voodoo Chicken is the bomb! I believe taste and value leave Yats in the dust. At $5/bowl, and $2.50/beer it's the most inexpensive restaurant downtown. Personally, I love the counter to avoid tipping (they had walled off the counter for BadaBoomz, I was glad to see it return). I did hear a rumor that they will be closing, and many of the employees were moving on, so admittedly you may have run into inexperienced cooks.

Anonymous said...

The $5 bowls and $2.50 drafts are only a short time promotion. Enjoy it while you can.

They guy running the place is a true beer enthusiast, so he has a great beer selection. I found the food decent. I would like to see a little better food menu to match the atmosphere and exceptional beer selection.

Anonymous said...

Sigh. Anonymous #1 here. I went to JGumbos for lunch today and it was awful. The rice was hard (to say undercooked, would be an understatement). Something was burning in the kitchen, my bread was hard and overbuttered, and my chicken in the voodoo chicken wasn't nearly as tender and lean as in days gone by. They only had two staff -- a cook (if you can call him that), and a waitress. The owner did end up coming in to help out while we were there. What a fall, from the best value in indianapolis, to something I had to force myself to eat. I will probably give them ONE more chance since I have had so many GREAT experiences there, but it looks like they might have thrown in the towel. Might as well close the doors early if this is what they expect you to pay for -- well maybe keep them open just for the beer? I am sad and disappointed and must now agree with your review. I only wish you could have tried it a couple of months ago.