Gumbo by the numbers: Heaven on Seven vs. Seven on State
Having eaten gumbo almost exlusively from these two venues in recent years, I'm obviously no gumbo expert. I'm a veritable Rand McNally, though, in terms of where to eat, and Heaven on Seven and Seven on State are the only places to find the dish in the central business district. And as I like to say, when the Loop serves you gumbo, you eat it.
Both gumbos are chicken-stock based, come with chicken and andoullie sausage, and include similiar proportions of the Holy Trinity of Lousiana cooking: onion, bell pepper and celery. But that's where the similiarity ends.
Heaven on Seven, 111 N. Wabash Ave.
Heaven on Seven's southern food is as authentic as you're likely to find in these parts and it's obvious in the gumbo, which is based on a brown roux. It includes chunked chicken and sliced sausage as well as a healthy scoop of white rice. Available in three sizes, it's usually served with cornbread or rolls. The atmopshere, meanwhile, is a hot sauce lover's paradise.
Seven on State, 111 N. State St.
Unlike the gumbo down the street, Seven on State's version is thin and more like a soup. The broth is tastey, albeit a bit salty, and includes carrots and okra, the ingredient that reportedly gave gumbo its name. It's served with a pretzel roll and comes in two different sizes. Located within the former Marshall Field's complex, there's no hot sauce around but it's still a fine view.