Best Cajun/Creole Restaurant - 2005
The Gumbo Shop
The Gumbo Shop's hubby-and-wife owners, Sid and Mary Roberts, enjoyed long careers as U.S. Customs agents before dedicating their retirement years to a higher calling: crawfish étouffée. To say they make the best crawfish étouffée in town would be an insult; with its homemade, ever-so-slightly sweet roux, it might be the tastiest this side of Louisiana. In fact, the Robertses took their recipes -- for jambalaya, fried oysters, bread pudding, red beans and rice, hush puppies -- from their bayou-dwelling ancestors and keep them closely guarded family secrets. In turn, their loyal clientele returns week in and week out to this unassuming storefront shack while speaking little of it, not wanting to see it change one iota, from the crab traps adorning the walls to the doting front-of-the-house attention Sid and Mary bring to their customers. But a Deep South relic like this needs a Deep Throat, because it's a crime to keep food this good a secret.