Its a little hard for me to rationalize seafood consumption in a state that is very plainly landlocked. Due to this internal prejudice, it can often be very difficult to acquire any passion to eat from any “sea food” related eatery, regardless of perceived value.
Gumbo’s will definitely land on the short list of restaurants in Denver that serve a fish meal that I would return to devour in the future. All of the foundational bases were certainly covered from the moment I walked into the building. Nice lighting and aesthetics, polite wait-staff that at least feigned interest in my meal enjoyment, decently priced (but not cheap mind you) dishes with excellent portions and a respectable happy hour.
One other detail to note would be my lack of exposure to any Cajun cuisine. Buckle up kids, if you don’t like the idea of gumbo or other such delectable shellfish related creole food please read no further. Your still here? Excellent. There is something classy and all together experimental about eating creole inspired food. Firstly its relationship to french preparation methods and second to its unique bouquet of smells and palette reactions.
I had a three course meal which included;
- A cup of shrimp gumbo
- The Mahi St. George (Fish of the Day)
- Chocolate Bread Pudding Souffle (desert)
Also as the meal began were served some complimentary baked bread with a herb infused creamed butter that was a simple yet rich. With that under my belt the cup of shrimp gumbo was placed in front of me. Having not ever tasted Gumbo before I was immediately struck by the strange aroma and combination of spices both aromatic and heat related. The temperature levels of the soup were definitely pronounced but didn’t seem to erode the sharp saltiness of the broth.
Next the Mahi fish of the day. I have never been so completely surprised with delight about a fish prepared in Denver. The St George (which should be subtitled, delightful pan fried golden crust) preparation method left a wonderful herb infused crust on the top of the fish cutlet while the inside was warm, soft and moist. As I delicately attempted to peal the fish apart there was little to no resistance in the flesh of the little swimmer itself.
The pool of reduced liquid that the fillet, and the perfect scoop of mashed potatoes, rested in had a garlic, white wine and pepper potpourri. I am not guaranteeing this description’s accuracy but you get the idea, warm cream sauce infused with the very crust that was cooked on to the surface of the fish. Tasty…etc.
The dessert was a Chocolate Souffle Bread Pudding, most like an extremely moist brownie, perched on top of which was a scoop of cinnamon ice cream. The server later revealed that the breading component was also infused with cinnamon. I have to say that this was indeed a most unique if not clearly a glorified comfort food prepared ever so perfectly.
Once again, thanks to the careful recommendation of a friend of mine, Matsuura Kazuomi, I was pleased and surprised by another gem buried deep in the pocket of Denver. Hats off and nets open, to Gumbo’s.