Happy Place: Gumbo's Louisiana Style Café, 1033 East Seventeenth Avenue, 720-266-5300.
The Hours: Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 6:30 p.m.
The Deals: $2 off specialty cocktails; $3.50 beer specials; $4 wines by the glass and martinis; $3-$4 small plates.
Were we happy? Flip the page to find out.
The Digs: Gumbo's originally occupied the downtown corner space that now houses The Kitchen, and then, earlier this year, reopened on Seventeenth Avenue, holding ground in the former home of Wild Catch and Tastes. Gumbo's breathes new life into a space that experienced tumultuous drama during its Wild Catch days; the bright hues and bluesy New Orleans wall décor accent the exposed brick along both walls, and the large front windows lend lots of natural light.
The Verdict: The market on Creole cuisine in Denver is virtually wide open, or severely lacking, depending on how you want to look at it. And while our cocktails at Gumbo's were an immediate disappointment, the food soon made up for everything -- and we found ourselves wishing that our city had more places with this style of treats.
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The happy hour menu at Gumbo's touches on many of the dishes that New Orleans and Louisiana, in general, are known for. Spicy andouille gumbo, dirty rice, Parmesan grits - it's all here. But our personal favorites are the crispy shrimp slider and the fried catfish. The slider boasts two plump, golden-fried shrimp, wedged between fresh arugula, caramelized onions and sriracha aioli. The flavors are rich, and every bite is perfect. The fried catfish is succinctly seasoned, crispy and savory on the outside, buttery and tender on the inside, and the remoulade and coleslaw are perfect accompaniments; in fact, we found ourselves longing for another order. The plates at Gumbo's are cheap and delicious, and we will definitely keep this happy hour in mind the next time we need a Southern fix.