Stevie's on the Strip
I was in The Hood yesterday around lunch time and I was trying to decide whether to have lunch at Tasty-Q or Leo's. I had just had Tasty-Q last week TWICE but I was hesitant to eat at a place that seems to want you to order take-out. I decided to head South further into The Hood and see what I could find. About a week ago someone mentioned Stevie's on the Strip as being good for Soul Food. I pulled in and parked. When I arrived I was the only one there and found that there are only 2 small tables inside, picnic tables on the patio and lots of seating on stools at a counter that goes along all of the walls inside. There was a big sign the said Gumbo Today. I ordered a bowl of Gumbo and was about to order the Ox Tail special when the guy behind the counter warned me that the Gumbo was a meal in itself and the Ox Tail dinner was probably more than I could eat even if I had nothing else. In about 5-10 minutes the place really filled up and they called me to pick up my Gumbo. It was a heaping bowl (styrofoam) loaded with crab, shrimp, sausage, chicken and rice. My first taste of the broth was spicy, swampy and altogether wonderful. The crab was not overcooked, the shrimp were large and perfectly cooked. The sausage was real Andouille in all its glory and the chicken was soooo tender and wonderful. A pint bowl (really much larger than that) was $10.35 and would probably cost that much to make yourself. I have made Gumbo myself and they must stir this Roux for an hour at low temperature to get this depth of flavor. To be a real pig I wanted to try my first piece of Sweet Potato Pie. It tasted like Aunt Kizzie's Yams with a (somewhat soggy) pie crust. I must add that I finished every bite (lite dinner last night). Stevie's is at the corner of Crenshaw and Jefferson. As much as I like Tasty-Q, next time I am in the neighborhood I will come back here first.
They were out of gumbo the last time I tried to get there. Must go down and try.
Notes on other Stevie's food:
Their fried chicken is pretty decent. It has this peppery spice mix. But it kind of, well, lacks love. In this case, it shows through the chicken itself - I think they use cheap chicken. Very flavorless. Almost mushy. Flossie's chicken is much better.
Their red beans and rice: basic, but not done with love and extras. Expected something else from a place that is supposedly New Orleans-ish. Red beans and rice at nearby - oh crap, somebody help me out here, brain seizes. New Orleans style place on Venice round La Brea that has a second branch in Marina Del Ray that has the great po' boys. Can't remember... ahhhh... Anyway, *that* place's red beans and rice has all kinds of intense tasty spicings, lacking from Stevie's.
Why do you call it The Hood, Leimert Park is just around the corner, it may be somewhat of a lower income neighborhood, although there are many very nice areas in That Hood. I do not understand calling it The Hood. Try going to Jordon Downs or Nickerson Gardens around 106th and Central if you want to see what The Hood is all about