Battle of the Gumbo: Hey, Waiter, There's an Embryo in My Soup
In the Other Corner: Baby Kay's Cajun Kitchen
2119 E. Camelback Rd. in East Phoenix
This baby's got the holy trinity! Is retro flooring common in Louisiana?
In less than ten minutes, we received our order of shrimp etoufee, crispy hush puppies and gumbo. Baby Kay's version is closer to a bayou-style gumbo, with a thicker soup base and the traditional holy "trinity" of bell pepper, onion and celery. The dish had a muddier taste -- not quite tomato, but more like watered-down beef gravy. The andouille sausage bites were thick and meaty, with a smoky flavor and a slight heat that crept up a few minutes after eating them.
Personally, I didn't mind. We get enough heat from the Southwest/Mexican/Tex-Mex cuisine that's so popular here that it was nice to let my mouth -- and stomach -- take a rest. The rice was tender and added texture to the dish, and the white and dark meat chicken chunks soaked up the moisture of the gravy-like sauce. My only complaint was that the vegetables were mushy and too plentiful.
The Winner: This one's a tough call. Faux fetus aside, the gumbo at Pappadeaux had a lovely, pungent tomato broth. But Baby Kay's take on this Cajun classic was closer to the real thing. Drum roll please....
Baby Kay's wins by a smidgen, though I'll be back to try the shrimp gumbo at Pappadeaux.