Best gumbo photo
(Gumbo at Acadiana; Photo by James M. Thresher)

Best gumbo

Julia Beizer | Washington Post Staff Writer  |  Updated 09/20/2011

Our area isn't known for standout N'awlins fare, but we found great examples of this thick, Southern classic.

 

Acadiana

Washington, DC

The $8 appetizer arrives at the table with a bit of theater: Servers turn out a silver container of piping-hot soup into your bowl. Shredded chicken and chunks of andouille sausage dot the thick, brown stew, which betrays a hint of spice but is relatively mild by gumbo standards. The understated dining room here eschews the Mardi Gras tropes in favor of a breezy, contemporary bayou chic.

 

Georgia Brown's

Washington, DC

At $18, the "Carolina" gumbo is the most expensive we tasted on this search, but it turns out the cost is justified. Shrimp, sausage, chicken, duck, and okra and other vegetables combine to form a smoldering, deeply flavored stew. Luscious crabmeat serves as a buttery respite for the tongue. Sadly for gumbo lovers, the bowl here is dominated by an excessive lump of red rice.

 

Louisiana Kitchen and Bayou Bar

Bethesda, MD

Formerly known as Louisiana Express, this cheap-eats spot, now on Cordell Avenue, has long been a beloved fixture in Bethesda. The restaurant's burning gumbo goes for $4.75 to $9.75, depending on the variety and size. Okra and your choice ofandouille, chicken, seafood or "the works" swirl in the dark-brown brew.

 

Okra's Cajun Creole

Manassas, VA

New Orleans jazz rings from the speakers, and colorful portraits dot the exposed-brick walls at this festive bistro. The shoebox space offers a seafood gumbo and a sausage-chicken-pork variety; both benefit from a generous dose of okra slices. The appetizer, which ranges in price from $3.95 to $6.95, is topped with chopped scallions, a biting contrast to the thick soup.

 

Johnny's Half Shell

Washington, DC

Some might have a bone to pick with this okra-less choice, as Johnny's brothy rendition veers perilously close to a seafood stew. It's thinner than most gumbos, sure, but it's also the spiciest selection we sampled. The stew is packed with shrimp, oysters, crab, white fish and a tiny dice of green pepper, celery and onion. Sop up the dregs of the $8 bowl with a piece of ciabatta.

 

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Editors' Picks: Best gumbo
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