Call it a soup. Or a stew. Actually, gumbo is a little of both.
The Louisiana favorite is made with sauteed aromatics, a dark roux, a highly flavored stock and any number of combinations of vegetables, meat, poultry and/or seafood. Rice is often in the mix.
Here are four restaurants, each offering its own take on gumbo, a dish that offers comfort with a fiery kick.
STORYVILLE AMERICAN TABLE, 43 Green St., Huntington, 631-351-3446
At this New Orleans-style restaurant, chef Brian Finn makes a gumbo that's studded with chunks of andouille sausage. It's thick, dark and packs some heat. ($4.95)
LL DENT, 221 Old Country Rd., Carle Place, 516-742-0940
Leisa Dent, chef and co-owner of this friendly Southern-style spot, offers Toby's Georgia hash, a spicy pork-laced gumbo made from her father's recipe. ($3.75 cup; $5.75 bowl)
BISCUITS & BARBEQUE, 106 E. Second St., Mineola, 516-493-9797
This retro-style Southern diner and BBQ spot serves both a chicken and andouille gumbo ($7 cup; $9 bowl) and a seafood gumbo made with shrimp and crab ($8 cup; $10 bowl). Both are spiced with skill and subtlety.
MARA'S TOO, 3261 Merrick Rd., Wantagh, 516-785-5300
The new offshoot of Mara's Home Cooking in Syosset is every bit as sassy as the original. Get off to a rousing start with an okra chicken and andouille gumbo, an ingeniously spiced soup-stew that may be ordered in a hollowed-out bread bowl.