What do Al Capone, Downtown Donaldsonville and The Tavern all have in common?
That’s the history behind the Grapevine Café and Gallery. The Tavern was a place to drink, eat and, on the second floor, gamble. This was a place that Al Capone frequented. The Tavern was a dilapidated building in Downtown Donaldsonville when the Schneiders’ decided to restore it and the Grapevine opened in early 2001.
A little about Donaldsonville. Donaldsonville is in Ascension Parish on the west bank of the Mississippi River approximately 60 miles west of New Orleans and approximately 40 miles south of downtown Baton Rouge. In fact, Donaldsonville was the state capitol in 1830 for a very short period of time. Donaldsonville is also known as the gateway to Cajun Country and Plantation Country.
Now let’s get to the gumbo. Or should I say gumbos? Yes, I had two different gumbos during my visit. Why not? When you can’t decide which one to order, order both.
They have a Seafood Gumbo and a Hen and Andouille Gumbo. Both are priced at $5.50 for a cup and $11.95 for a bowl. Both are served with rice and potato salad. They are both served on the side. It may sound strange to serve potato salad with gumbo, but that’s the Cajun influence. Some Cajun restaurants actually serve it in the gumbo.
Seafood Gumbo (left)
The presentation was one of the best. The Seafood Gumbo was served very hot, had a medium roux, it smelled great, had plenty of shrimp, but not as much crab. They do put okra in their Seafood Gumbo, but it wasn't’t slimy. It was seasoned perfectly and it performed like a good gumbo. It was spicier as I got to the bottom of the cup. I mentioned to the owner (after I ate both Gumbos) that I’m not a big fan of okra in gumbo, as it can get slimy. She said they put a little Worcestershire Sauce and a little vinegar. That solves the slimy problem. It worked.
Hen and Andouille Gumbo (right)
The presentation was wonderful. As you can see in the photo there was more hen and Andouille than there was gumbo. This was the most stuff I’ve had in a gumbo since I’ve started my Best Louisiana Gumbo search. I was a little concerned at first that the stuff would take away from the liquid, but it worked perfectly. The roux was a little darker and thicker than the seafood gumbo. The large pieces of hen were juicy and the nice size pieces of andouille were highly seasoned as andouille should be. They get their andouille from Poche’s in Beaux Bridge in Cajun country. The spiciness hit me immediately, in a good way. I knew from the first taste it was going to be a cup cleaner. It had a wonderful after-burn and the spiciness was bolder as I finished every drop.
I asked the owner if they used a Guinea hen. She said, “we use a big ole momma hen”. So, if you are looking for some of the best good ole momma hen gumbo “you heard it at The Grapevine”.
Croux says “I’ll give it a 3 Spoon Rating”
Hen and Andouille Gumbo
Croux says “I’ll give it a 4 Spoon Rating”
*Read my Gumbo Rating System*
The Grapevine Café and Gallery
211 Railroad Ave
Donaldsonville, LA 70346
The Louisiana Travelin' Man