Restaurant Review: J Gumbos

new-orleans-255548_1280Last July, we had the opportunity to visit New Orleans and enjoy a lot of gumbo, jambalaya, étouffée, alligator, and so on. When I saw the J Gumbo “coming soon” sign, I was excited to give it a try. So, we found ourselves with some time to kill at lunch time yesterday, and I thought it was the perfect time to visit.

We arrived around 12:30, and there was still a pretty healthy lunch crowd there, and I was the only mom with kids. Their clientele was mostly folks from nearby Research Park. While we waited in line, I looked over the menu and realized there was no kids’ menu, rather they make kid-sized portions when asked. This was not an issue for us, as my kids aren’t overly picky. But, if you require a standard kids’ menu with chicken fingers, grilled cheeses, and hot dogs, this isn’t the place for you.

The overall atmosphere was lively and casual, with yellow and purple walls. The floors were a bit littered, but then again it was coming off their busy lunch time. If you are a sports fan, you will like that there’s many TVs, all with ESPN on.  One tv with a news or weather channel would have been nice for us non-sports lovers.

When I got up to the register, I asked how big the po-boys were, as that seemed a logical thing for my kids to share. The cashier immediately told me how spicy everything was, and advised me against pretty much everything on the menu for kids. However, I ordered a Drunken Chicken po-boy (my kids aren’t overly picky) for them to share (and requested it to be cut in half), and the crawfish étouffée for myself, along with some waters.

The food arrived relatively quickly, but the po-boy was not cut in half, and they only brought one plate. Not a big deal, but when I asked the server he seemed a bit put out. I was also dismayed to see that there were no available lids for the water cups, and I was hoping the entire time that neither of my kids had a spill. I also had to get up to retrieve silverware and napkins…not in itself an issue…but at that point I was definitely feeling that kids aren’t necessarily welcome, or taken into account, here.

The kids initially commented on the spiciness of their sandwich, but it had nowhere near the bite of the étouffée.  They both did finish their sandwiches, so it really wasn’t that bad in terms of hotness.  Overall, I’d say they enjoyed their meal a little better than I enjoyed mine. Having experienced authentic Cajun/Creole food, I can say the étouffée was a bit of a let down. Spicy/hot? Yes. Flavorful?  Not really.  Rice with an orange roux and – maybe – 7 tiny crawfish. Sort of meh. Perhaps I should have gotten the Drunken Chicken.

Other considerations:  Parking may be a concern in peak hours. I didn’t find the staff to be overly friendly or helpful. Restrooms were spacious and clean. During peak hours, I can see how it might feel cramped inside.

My overall rating:  3 stars

Location: 6251 University Drive, Suite E in Huntsville

Hours:  10:30 am – 10:00 pm

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