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For my special guest Food Cart Friday column, I decided to leave Library Mall behind and check out the fare on Capitol Square. As I approached the Bayou cart at the corner of Carroll St. and Main St. the atmosphere seemed friendly and I saw what I wanted right away; seafood gumbo.
Being a huge soup and stew fan, it was and easy choice and I wasn’t disappointed. A bowl of the gumbo was $6 but after ordering I realized I only had $5 in cash. I asked him to wait for me while I went to an ATM but he said not to worry about it. After this friendly encounter the food could have been less than great and it wouldn’t have been a big deal. However this wasn’t the case as the gumbo was delicious.
A scoopful of rice was placed in the bowl right after I placed my order and it was cooked perfectly. Not too firm, but didn’t fall apart once stirred into the gumbo. The menu description of the gumbo read “a hearty, rich Creole stew finished with a variety of today’s freshest seafood and loaded with Creole vegetables.” ‘Loaded’ wasn’t misleading, as the stew was full of celery, tomatoes, peppers, and mushrooms. The mushrooms were the highlight: big tender pieces that if I hadn’t read the menu I would’ve sworn were the centerpiece of the stew. This combo of hearty vegetables in the stew made the spork the perfect utensil for this dish. The flavor was perfect, just spicy enough to notice but not make you reach for a glass of water after each bite and the chopped seafood wasn’t too overwhelming as a flavor either.
The Bayou is also known for their famous oysters, Crawfish Boil and Bayou Jambalaya, which led to their being named the Best New Restaurant by the Taste of Madison.
If you’re in the mood for New Orleans style cuisine, stop by The Bayou food cart on your lunch break or their restaurant just down the road at 117 south Butler St. You may even see me in line again!
Food Cart: The Bayou
Location: The corner of Carroll and Main or their restaurant at 117 south Butler St.
Meal: Seafood Gumbo $6