Filé Gumbo Bar is a Cajun-Creole Gumbo Bar in Tribeca from Chef/Owner Eric McCree named after the thickening agent used for its gumbo –filé, ground sassafras leaves that was introduced to the cuisine by the Choctaw Tribe. The centerpiece of the menu is Tiny’s Gumbo, inspired by McCree’s grandfather, Aubrey “Tiny” Gaines. Tiny had a larger-than-life presence and believed there was nothing better than shellfish and spice.
Chef McCree is an audio engineer by trade who traveled the globe for six years with a touring company, spending his free time immersing himself in the food and culture of each city. At the end of his run with the touring company, he landed in New York City and began working on Broadway productions until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. He moved to Albany and opened a private chef and catering business, reinvigorating his love for food and developing the business model for Filé.
Filé Gumbo Bar is designed as an educational feast of the subtleties of Cajun and Creole food, with the signature dish of gumbo. McCree has harnessed a unique style of serving gumbo, utilizing a steam kettle cooking system. The bar will feature two gumbo chefs each operating four steam kettles, featuring customizable gumbo entrees made to order.
GUMBO starts with a roux base that is slow cooked to create a rich flavor for the signature gumbo. Made from butter, rendered chicken and pork fat, and flour, it is stewed for hours then chilled for 2 days to allow the base to macerate and the full-bodied flavors to develop. This process of creating the roux allows the dish to be prepared at the bar in just five to six minutes.
While the kettle chefs cook the gumbo, they mix in guest’s choice of proteins and adjust the heat intensity by request, adding the filé powder last to bind the ingredients and provide a unique lemony flavor. Chardonnay is used to deglaze the kettle and the finished dish is served with Popcorn Rice, a nutty variety of Louisiana bred long grain rice.
Tiny’s Gumbo, the signature dish that defines the diverse roots of American cuisine, is flavored with onions, celery, and bell peppers—the holy trinity of aromatics—Cajun spices, fresh herbs, and chicken stock, with a choice of protein cooked in, topped with a dusting of file powder and gremolata. Protein options are Chicken and Andouille Sausage; Seafood, crab, and shrimp; and All-In. Adding to the authenticity of the cuisine, seafood, andouille sausage, and popcorn rice are flown in daily from Louisiana.
Also available is Gumbo Z’Herbes, a green gumbo made from a vegetarian roux base with hearty leafy vegetables swiss chard, collard greens, black kale, and parsley, finished with Cajun spices, fresh herbs, and reduced white wine.
To compliment the signature dish, Chef McCree has created a unique Cajun-Creole experience, showcasing the flavors of both cuisines in appetizers: Iconic Jazz Fest Crawfish Bread, a creamy succulent cheese mixture with sautéed crawfish tail meat and the holy trinity of aromatics, onions, celery, and bell peppers, smeared on Leidenheimer French bread and baked till golden brown; and Char-Grilled Oysters, tender and meaty gulf oysters in the half-shell grilled in spicy garlic herb butter served with grilled baguettes.
Kettle Entrees also include Andouille and Shrimp Jambalaya, a Louisiana adaptation of Spanish paella made with a dark brown roux, tomato paste, rendered smoked Tasso, and Andouille sausage, all deglazed with porter beer to make a rich gravy, incorporated with shrimp and popcorn rice; Crawfish and Crispy Okra Étouffée, crawfish tail meat sauteed in butter with house crab-boil spice blend, onions, celery, and bell peppers and thickened with a medium-dark roux to create a gravy that is then smothered over popcorn rice and garnished with crispy fried okra; and Seared Double-Cut Bone in Pork Chop with Dirty Rice, a pork chop brined in sweat tea, thyme, orange zest, and pepper corns, pan seared and finished in the oven with a bourbon butter sauce and served over a bed of dirty rice and sauteed mustard greens.
Dessert is composed of a single signature dish that Chef McCree perfected over months of experimentation, a decadent Chocolate Praline Cake, Dutch chocolate cake layered with candied pecans served slightly warmed with a dollop of fresh whipped cream spiked with Benedictine B&B liqueur and a salted caramel drizzle.
Weekday breakfast Petit Déjeuner from 9am to 12pm consisting of Beignets, house-made pillowy French donuts fried until golden brown then dusted with powdered sugar; French-Press Coffee, a medium to dark house blend made exclusively for Filé Gumbo Bar with tasting notes of dark chocolate, caramel, and hazelnut.
Lunch from 11am to 3pm on weekdays comprised of Muffuletta, a traditional New Orleans sandwich stuffed with ham, salami, mortadella, provolone, swiss, and marinated olive salad on Leidenheimer-baked muffuletta bread, served with house-fried potato chips; and Po’ Boy, made with a choice of fried shrimp or oysters, crispy lettuce, fresh tomato, and homemade rémoulade sauce on Leidenheimer-baked French bread, served with house-fried potato chips.
Weekend Brunch dishes showcase the versatility of Cajun and Creole with highlights such as French Omelette with Jumbo Lump Crab, fresh eggs and butter, folded for a soft, tender texture, covered with succulent jumbo lump crab, topped with hollandaise sauce and chives; Shrimp and Smoky Cheddar Grits, a bowl of creamy yellow corn grits slow-cooked in buttermilk and chicken stock with smoked cheddar cheese, served with sautéed shrimp and Tasso in a thin red-eye sauce made from reduced coffee and butter.
The Beverage Program has been designed by Beverage Director Kevin Reid, winner of DC’s 2020 Woodford Manhattan Experience Cocktail Competition to enhance and compliment the complex flavors of the cuisine through reimagined classic cocktails such as: Filé Southern Sour, twist on whiskey sour crafted with house-made sweet tea, brown sugar simple syrup, bourbon, and fresh lemon juice; AppleRac, apple brandy twist on the Sazerac, the official drink of New Orleans; a rotating selection of craft beers on tap from southern microbreweries, and a sophisticated yet approachable wine list.
The long and welcoming restaurant space at Filé Gumbo Bar features exposed brick lined with custom made yellow leather banquettes and wooden low top tables. The walls are adorned with mirrors so guests facing away can watch as the kettle chefs cook. The large black granite bar holds eight steam kettles and doubles for beverage service, hosting guests in custom made leather chairs for an interactive experience. An oversized oil painting of a clumping of sassafras trees in a field and hand-made metal silhouettes of sassafras leaves that cast shadows of the integral ingredient around the space round out the restaurant’s decore.
275 Church Street, New York, NY 10013
- Monday – Thursday: 9am – 12am
- Friday: 9am – 1am
- Saturday: 11am – 3pm; 4pm-11am
- Sunday: 11am – 3pm; 4pm-12pm