100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 22, Gumbo at Danton's

Danton's 002.jpg
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston® issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.

If I see that a restaurant offers gumbo, I nearly always make it a point to try a cup of it with my meal. It's usually only a few dollars extra and I'm constantly on the look-out for really outstanding gumbo in Houston, which is difficult to find.

Liberty Kitchen wowed me (and plenty of my Cajun friends, who are far harsher on the stew than I ever imagine I could be), but I'm disappointed in the gumbos I taste more often than not. And it's more difficult to find -- even at good restaurants -- than it should be. I love Reef; its gumbo tastes burned and thin. Ditto the gumbo at The Hay Merchant, a place with otherwise excellent food.

But the gumbo at Danton's has never once disappointed. Since I found the stuff three years ago, it's been my go-to gumbo for anyone who asks where to get the best bowl in Houston.

You could be forgiven for mistaking the bowl of gumbo that arrives for a chocolate-y mole at first, so dark and silky and creamy is it. The texture of the roux is velvety-soft, with hefty body to it that is nothing like the thin, reedy gumbos so often found elsewhere. This is a Cajun gumbo -- rice served on the side -- which employs both a thick, smoky roux as well as shrimp, crab and huge, two-bite oysters in the broth. It's topped with green onions for a little extra bite, and it's already spicy enough as to render any Tabasco or Crystal sauce moot.

If you're spicehound like me, you're probably going to doctor it up with hot sauce anyway. Go for it. And look for the Bloody Danton at brunch: It's Danton's gumbo, strained and mixed with vodka and rimmed with a spicy salt mix. Forget tomato juice when you've got this stuff as a base.

The list so far:

No. 100: Chili cheese mac at Jus' Mac
No. 99: Texas turkey sandwich at Spec's
No. 98: Custard at Petite Sweets
No. 97: Caprichos mixtos at Taqueria Monterrey Chiquito
No. 96: Pineapple-wasabi burger at Lankford Grocery
No. 95: Farmer's MKT Pizza at Phoenicia's MKT Bar
No. 94: Potatoes at Money Cat Brunch
No. 93: Breakfast tacos at Sunrise Taquito
No. 92: Hot dog at Tacos D.F.
No. 91: Avocado gelato at Frozen Cafe
No. 90: Chicken sandwich at JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers
No. 89: Beer-battered asparagus at Hearsay
No. 88: Honey Badger omelet at Kraftsmen Cafe
No. 87: Pastelitos de carne at El Jalapeño
No. 86: Pancakes at Union Kitchen
No. 85: Wild boar and crab pizza at Boheme
No. 84: Breakfast croissant at BB Donuts
No. 83: Pretzel at Anvil Bar & Refuge
No. 82: Short rib sandwich at Shepherd Park Draught House
No. 81: Grilled shrimp po-boy at Pappadeaux
No. 80: Dahi puri at Shiv Sagar
No. 79: Aporreado at Los Corrales
No. 78: Oxtail francobolli at Aldo's Cucina Italiana
No. 77: Tonkotsu at Cafe Kubo's
No. 76: Spinach danish from Angela's Oven
No. 75: Pupusas at El Petate
No. 74: Pheasant dog at Sammy's Wild Game Grill
No. 73: X-Tudo burger at Friends Pizzeria
No. 72: Esparragos gratinados at Tintos
No. 71: Gua bao at Yummy Kitchen
No. 70: Geisha dog at Happy Endings
No. 69: Oyster po-boy and gumbo at Goode Co. Seafood
No. 68: Ceviche at Sirena Seafood
No. 67: Caldo de mariscos at Taqueria Arandas
No. 66: Banana pudding at Pizzitola's
No. 65: Fried catfish and gumbo at Cafe-A-La
No. 64: Soft-shell crabs at Banana Leaf
No. 63: Macaroni and cheese at Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse
No. 62: Torta burger at El Gran Malo
No. 61: Black bean burger at Ziggy's
No. 60: Parillada at Pampa Grill
No. 59: Peanut butter and jalapeño jelly burger at Wicked Whisk
No. 58: Eggplant involtini at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino
No. 57: Lone Star dog at James Coney Island
No. 56: Sushi at Sushi Miyagi
No. 55: Palestinian chicken at Al Aseel
No. 54: Roast beef sandwich at Local Foods
No. 53: Mexico City plate at Molina's Cantina
No. 52: Tacos at Brothers Taco House
No. 51: Branzino at Lucio's BYOB
No. 50: Beef sweetbreads at Feast
No. 49: Golden Doomba Special at the Rice Box Truck
No. 48: Malted waffle at City Cafe
No. 47: Banh mi bo kho at Cafe TH
No. 46: Chicken fried steak at Triple A
No. 45: Larissa plate at Harry's
No. 44: Spaghetti carbonara at Coppa Ristorante Italiano
No. 43: Wings and grits at The Breakfast Klub
No. 42: Frito pie at C&D Burger Shoppe
No. 41: Pollo con mole at El Gallo de Jalisco
No. 40: Fried avocado taco at H-Town StrEATs
No. 39: Rigatoni in bolognese sauce at Paulie's
No. 38: Chorizo kolaches at Peña's Donut Heaven
No. 37: Sashimi at Dadami
No. 36: Half-pound burger at benjy's
No. 35: Fried chicken at Haven
No. 34: Whole-fried speckled trout at Liberty Kitchen
No. 33: Moules congolaise at Jeannine's Bistro
No. 32: Pancakes at Fountain View Cafe
No. 31: Pineapple with chile en polvo at Canino's
No. 30: Fried chicken at Barbecue Inn
No. 29: Dirty Burque at Green Seed Vegan
No. 28: Egusi at Finger Licking Bukateria
No. 27: Brisket and turkey at CorkScrew BBQ
No. 26: Menudo at La Mexicana
No. 25: Shrimp and grits at Shade
No. 24: Kinilaw at Reef
No. 23: Lamb at El Hidalguense



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Location Info

Danton's Gulf Coast Seafood Kitchen

4611 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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13 comments
Houstess
Houstess

INDEED!  Like like like!

SirRon
SirRon

If it doesn't have okra, then it isn't actually "gumbo"... but Danton's is really delicious.

aghastronome
aghastronome

Definitely the best gumbo in town.  I prefer okra in my gumbo, however, the lack thereof doesn't bother me a bit.

conebaby
conebaby topcommenter

I love Danton's. A favorite since we moved here.

Kerrigan
Kerrigan

Can't wait for the gulf oysters to be in season....they're plump and downright amazing at Danton's!

Kerrigan
Kerrigan

 @SirRon ...and if it doesn't contain sassafras it isn't gumbo either. Danton's is really delicious.

SirRon
SirRon

 @Kerrigan  Are you suggesting that they don't use file? Gumbo comes from a word meaning okra. This isn't a "beans in chili" type of situation.

Kerrigan
Kerrigan

 @SirRon even when fabricating, I'm as close to right as you...I just looked it up. and that makes me feel good

SirRon
SirRon

 @Kerrigan  I don't know nothing about knowing very little. And you aren't real to me... only words that pop up for me to play with. It's been real though, anonymous kerrigan.

Kerrigan
Kerrigan

 @kshilcutt  @SirRon why do I feel the need to just make stuff up? oh yeah, to see SirRon reply claiming that he knows better, with a signature flourish to boot

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editortopcommenter

 @SirRon  @Kerrigan LOUD NOISES. Also, this: "Danton's gumbo is actually great and implicitly magical."

SirRon
SirRon

 @Kerrigan  Likewise, that etymology is questionable. Danton's gumbo is actually great and implicitly magical.

Kerrigan
Kerrigan

 @SirRon that etymology is questionable. gumbo actually derives from a word meaning green, which is implicitly sassafras

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