If I haven’t mentioned it before, I was born and reared (“Chickens are raised, children are reared!” -HS English teacher) in Louisiana (I have definitely mentioned this before). Also if I haven’t mentioned it before, I regard most “New Orleans style” or “Cajun” restaurants outside Louisiana with a wary eye (I mention this every chance I get). So even giving Gumbo YaYa’s a chance was kind of a big deal for me. I was convinced after taking a look at their menu, which looked pretty legit. Not that we don’t serve up a plethora of dishes smothered in butter and cream-based sauces in Louisiana, but that is really not the majority–or the best–of what we have to offer. The hole-in-the-wall type spots serving up overstuffed po’boys and fried seafood plates–now that’s where it’s at. And luckily, the menu at Gumbo YaYa’s doesn’t just look legit, it tastes that way too. Let’s start with the gumbo:
This is the real deal. You would be hard pressed to get me to say that anyone’s gumbo is better than my mom’s, but this comes darn close. I’m partial to the chicken and sausage (because it’s mostly what mom cooks), and Mario prefers the seafood version, which has shrimp, crawfish, and crab. Both the small and large sizes come with a hunk of French bread shipped in from Gambino’s (a bakery with locations across South Louisiana), so you know it’s good.
If you need a more substantive meal, you can’t go wrong with a po’boy or one of my favorite comfort foods, crawfish pie:
That po’boy was perfection. A generous helping of seasoned, crispy oysters cradled in that signature New Orleans French bread and “dressed” (mayo, lettuce, tomato). Just like home! Crawfish pie makes me feel warm inside (especially along with a bowl of gumbo), and this version was no exception.
This delicious food is all well and good, but possibly the best thing about Gumbo YaYa’s? They show all Saints and LSU football games, and give out free jello shots on a Saints or LSU score. Geaux Tigers! Who dat!