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““Could be great...with a little less effort with the shaker”???” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Gumbeaux's a Cajun Cafe

Gumbeaux's a Cajun Cafe
6712 Broad St, Douglasville, GA 30134-4529
770-947-8288
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Ranked #1 of 160 Restaurants in Douglasville
Cuisines: Cajun & Creole
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Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Special occasions
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Late Night
Asheville, North Carolina
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4 reviews 4 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
““Could be great...with a little less effort with the shaker”???”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2013

I have just returned from another visit to my favorite restaurant on the planet, Gumbeaux's Cajun Cafe in Douglasville, Ga! I decided to take a look to see what others think of this place and, like me, most people recognize it for the wonderful experience you are sure to have. I still have to drive 250 miles one way to eat here and I take a cooler with me to bring home take out. There is NO other place that I am willing to do either of those two things for, much less both. Eating at Gumbeaux's is an experience. Sure you will probably have to wait, but you'll notice that there are lots of other people doing the same thing. Many if not most of those people are willing to wait because they have been there before and they know that the food is exceptional. I have never had a meal there that was "too seasoned" or "too salty" or "drowned in powdered 'Cajun spices'. I have eaten here for 15 years and tried just about everything on the menu at least twice. Many of the staff have been there for years and they always make you feel welcome and comfortable. Cajun food is not for everyone and I don't believe that my opinion should carry more weight because of where I was raised. Having said that, in my opinion, Gumbeaux's will exceed your expectations and make you wish you lived around the corner.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Douglasville, Georgia
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
59 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
87 helpful votes 87 helpful votes
“Could be great...with a little less effort with the shaker”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2013

After recently moving to the Atlanta area from Long Island, NY, a relative just raved about this place, saying that it was his 'hands down' favorite place to eat. Being natives to the gulf coast area in the south, my husband and I are not only 'familiar' with Cajun food, we were raised on it--so I think that gives a bit more weight to our critiquing of 'Cajun' food. Tonight we decided to go try it out. As we'd expected, we had to wait for a table--but less than a half hour. The smells coming from the kitchen were divine, the decor and music predictable (Mardi Gras and jazz, mostly--but very tasteful & welcoming--and not at all ostentatious.).
We decided to order the fried oyster platter (which comes with 'Cajun fries' and hushpuppes) for something like $16.99, and an 'appetizer' of 2 pan seared crab cakes served over crab meat etouffee--for about $11.99. Having lived in NY for the past few years, we've been used to higher prices, and thought they were okay in their pricing, but were surprised that on some things they were higher than NY prices. The soft-shell crab, for instance. Most places on LI the price for a soft shell platter with 2 crabs was around $22. Here the price was $19.99 for one. So that was a mild surprise.
We had thought about splitting an oyster po'boy along with the crab cakes, which we both love, but decided on this instead. When the waiter came to take our order, he said there was a 'special' on oysters tonight and that you could order them for $.90/each, for as many as you want (in increments of 6 for $5.40) and just add whatever sides you wanted to go with them, a la carte. As their sides are very reasonably priced at $1/each, this seemed to be a good deal. We ordered the crab cakes , one dozen fried oysters, a side of 3 cheese grits, a side of Cajun turnip greens, an order of garlic bread, and unsweetened iced tea. Meanwhile I had my eye on a dessert offering of Cajun bread pudding with a rum sauce--very reasonably priced at under $3 unless you order it with ice cream (and who wouldn't???), which would raise the price by $1.
First, the tea. Skip it. Was not good tea. Bitter and tasted somewhat chlorinated. Probably the water, but I were the owner, I'd consider filtering the tap where the tea is made. Should've just gotten water. Next, the crab cakes over the crab meat etouffee. A huge portion, and would have been wonderful. I took one bite and was hugely disappointed. It was SO over salted that it literally burned my tongue. (Now before anyone starts thinking, well, yes, she is used to NY food which NEVER has enough salt in it, so the problem was her and not the food...let me say that I have probably salted everything I've ever gotten in a NY restaurant with the possible exception of pizza--and have, on occasion, salted that, too). I like salt and I like it probably more than most people. I even hate pound cakes which are too 'fresh' (a southern expression to describe a cake made with plain flour to which not enough salt was added in the batter). So when I say something was 'too salty', I mean it was bordering on inedible. I can eat stuff that is a little too salty, and I'd rather have it a touch too salty rather than to have been cooked with no salt. But this was just ridiculous. I simply could not eat it--and I really wanted to.
The crab cakes were okay, but, like everything else we ordered (EXCEPT the grits & oysters), it was drowned in powdered 'Cajun spices' so that sadly, everything tasted the same--that is whenever you could actually distinguish a taste other than that sprinkled on spice. The turnip greens were evidently cooked well, a bit over salted, too--but unfortunately, they had the same taste and burning hot from the same spices (and yes, I love spicy food...but there is a difference in 'spicy' and over-seasoned).
The grits were very, very good, as they either somehow escaped the Cajun spice onslaught, or were given less of it so that you could actually taste the cheese, and not just Cajun spices in another texture and form. The garlic bread tasted as if it had no salt whatsoever.--not because it didn't, but because the other stuff was just so overwhelmingly salty that it paled in comparison. The side of fries was more than generous, and they were fresh, piping hot, and crispy--all that a good fry should be. But alas, they, too, were covered in the ubiquitous 'Cajun Seasoning'.
Finally, the oysters. They were very good. Not over salted, not overdone nor underdone. And praise be: no Cajun Spice sprinkled on them, either! They were just right--and the two sauces we chose (remoulade and cocktail) were both absolutely delicious. Although we didn't try the gumbo nor the shrimp we've heard about, I suspect it may be more of the same: too much of a good thing (Cajun spice) and way too salty.
I really, really wish people understood that just because you shake a heavy coating of Cajun spice on something does not make it a 'Cajun' dish. Cajun foods' appeal comes from their intricate blend of herbs and spices, of which salt is only one! If one closes their eyes and puts a spoonful of real Cajun cuisine in their mouth to analyze the flavors, none should heavily outshine the rest, and the 'heat' of it should never overpower the flavor! You should immediately note garlic, and onion, and peppers...and then pick up on the lesser spices, like bay leaf. The flavors should burst upon your tongue, not a canned spice that sears your taste buds with a heavy dousing of salt and standardized 'Cajun spices', so that they can no longer distinguish the subtleties of the flavors that make Cajun food the star that it is.
So, for me, Gumbeaux's was a bit of a letdown. I wanted to love it, I really did. But I just didn't. After eating Italian food for years now, I was so ready to be back in a world of variety, and especially some that tastes 'just like Mom used to make', but Gumbeaux's fell short. The sad part is that they don't seem to realize that sometimes, 'less is better', and it is very easy to add a little salt, while it is impossible to take any away. I don't mean 'don't salt it and let people add their own', either. You can never add enough salt to make up for someone's lack of putting it in while it is cooking...and I think you end up eating more salt than you would have if you'd just cooked it with a normal amount to start with. What I mean is to salt it reasonably, but err on the side of not quite enough--and offer shakers on the table. In other words, back off on the Cajun Spices, already! I saw the onions and the peppers, and I did taste the garlic. But it was the only other taste I could make out over the searing salt load. I think they really do have the basics of Cajun cooking down pat--now if they were only brave enough to let the ingredients speak for themselves....
By the time I finished what I could of my meal, my mouth was burning and was basically numb to the nuances of flavor, so I decided against the bread pudding and opted for a cup of ice cream from Chik Filet instead--in an effort to ward off a huge case of indigestion from all that unnecessary spice load at Gumbeaux's.
We will go back, at least once more...and I will stick with the oyster Po'boy and maybe some coleslaw. At least they probably won't cover the slaw with that overwhelming Cajun Spice powder.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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ATLANTA
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“MMMM MMMM GOOD”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2013

Three of us B-More girls came here for some good cajun food.

We arrived at approx. 8:30 on a Saturday night. After putting our name on the wait list, we decided to go upstairs to have a few drinks at the full bar.

Our bartender Cory was outstanding. He joked with us throughout the night and made us a yummy drink by the name of Holy Water.

Due to the bar area seating by first come, first serve basis we were able to grab a table after about a hour. The food was WELL WORTH THE WAIT!

I ordered the blackened fish ponchartrain with a side of red beans and rice. This meal was absolutely delicious.

I highly recommended Gumbeaux's. I look forward to eating at Gumbeaux's again REAL SOON.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Douglasville, Georgia
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Excellent Cajun Cuisine”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2013

Our family has dined at Gumbeaux's on many occasions and it is consistently an excellent cajun meal. The traditional cajun dishes (gumbo, shrimp creole, crawfish etouffee, etc.) are well-prepared and delicious. The seafood is fresh and perfectly prepared. Portions are large so plan on half portions or plan to take something home. Gumbeaux's prices are a good value based on the quality and quantity of the food. Although it can be crowded during both lunch and dinner, it is worth the trip and the wait. I highly recommend this restaurant for a delicious, authentic cajun meal.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lancaster, California
Top Contributor
156 reviews 156 reviews
83 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Stand in line it is worth it ~”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2013

Gumbeaux's A Cajun Cafe is closed on Sunday & Monday, so plan around these days. It is best to go when they first open because the later it gets the longer the line gets. The reason for the line is great food at a great price and a lot of food on the plate. If this were your first time, I would recommend the Cajun Sampler and Capt Creole's Platter. Then sit back and enjoy.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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