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Aug 25, 2002 07:04 PM


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Anyone who doesn't already know this should: Uncle Darrow's (2 locations: Venice Blvd 5 blks west of La Brea, and Lincoln & Washington Blvd) has the best file gumbo and jumbalaya this side of Louisiana. Go!! And tell Norwood "Andrew" sent you.

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  1. Best I have had outside Lousiana is at Stevie's on the Strip at Crenshaw and Slauson. Now you're talking Gumbo. Tons of perfect seafood and a killer broth. Gumbo is the best thing on Uncle Darrow's menu though.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Just Larry

      Nope, you're both wrong. Harold and Belle's restaurant on Jefferson Blvd, down the street from Stevie's, serves gumbo that is much better than both of those places. Btw, for some reason the poboys at Uncle Darrow's Venice location seemed to me to tast better than the new place.

      At least nobody tried to claim that weak junk at The Gumbo Pot at Farmer's Market was best...I'm sorry, it's really pretty sad stuff if you are used to good homestyle gumbo. I'm always amazed at the business they do. The begneits they have there are great, however.

      Other places to recommend include La Louisianne on Overhill and Slauson, and Crescent City just off the 10 freeway in Montclaire .

      1. re: gj

        The word "better" is such a general term. Could you please be more specific? "wrong" is also probably not the best choice of word. "I disagree" is friendlier.
        The Gumbo at Stevies has, to my taste, a perfect broth and the seafood is plentiful and just perfectly cooked. The Po'boys that I have had at both Uncle Darrow's locations had fish that was in the frier far too long. I am not sure that we have a good version of an authentic Po'boy in Los Angeles. I think it also has to do with the "fixin's" that they put on the roll. Darrow's "fixin's" a a bit boring.

        1. re: Just Larry

          An authentic NOLA po' boy is "dressed" with lettuce, tomato, pickle, and plain mayo - boring, maybe, but that's authenticity for you (sorry, no chipotle mayo or lemon-garlic aioli). Some places add creole mustard (or you can add it yourself). Other additions can include gravy (for roast beef po' boys), tartar sauce (for some seafood and catfish po' boys) and "debris." The po' boys at Uncle Darrow's are properly and authentically dressed by NOLA standards. If that's too boring for you, you can spice it up with some of the Louisiana hot sauce they provide.

          What's even more important regarding an authentic po' boy is the bread. The French roll should be crispy and flaky on the outside, and soft and airy - not chewy and thick - on the inside. Uncle Darrow's also has this detail down pat. This is a crucial detail that most places pretty much overlook (the bread at the Gumbo Pot and Brennan's in Downtown Disney is way too dense and chewy, and I once had a shrimp "po' boy" at New York's Union Square Cafe that came on a roll that was too soft, like some upscale version of a hot dog bun).

          I personally find Uncle Darrow's shrimp po' boy a good, tasty and authentic version of the "real deal" that I've had at Johnnie's and Mother's in NOLA. The NOLA natives I've taken to Uncle Darrow's have agreed, too. The cornmeal crust is different than what I've found on shrimp po' boys in NOLA, but I still like it, especially because it has a slight taste of curry. The shrimp I've had at Uncle Darrow's has always been very fresh - firm and flavorful with the right amount of "crunch." I can't remember the details, but allegedly Norwood Clark (or someone in his family) was once a cook at Commander's Palace and that's where they learned how to cook their Creole specialties.

          A couple years back I was at the Farmer's Market when a busload of ladies from Lousiana descended upon the Gumbo Pot. I wish I had a tape recorder as their mouths spewed out some of the most amazingly colorful disses I've heard in a long time. Only the red beans and rice escaped somewhat unscathed.

          An interesting point of reference y'all should check out is Chuck Taggart's Gumbo Pages. He's a NOLA expat living here in L.A. His favorites for gumbo? Uncle Darrow's, Stevie's and Harold and Belle's - so you all are right.


          1. re: Chris G.

            Thanks for all of the great information.

            1. re: Chris G.

              Thanks for the spirited defense of Darrow's. I'm a big fan of the catfish po'boy.

              To the victim of the overfried sammich: go again. Darrow's has its burnt moments but is generally on with those po'boys.

              If it's just the fish you're interested in, go further West on Venice to Smitty's Famous Fish and Chicken on the SE corner of Venice and Culver. I caution against anything other than fried fish (and downright forbid the hot wings) but i LOVE their fried fish (you can choose from several species). Cornmeal batter, really crispy on the outside and moizt on the inside. The sides are tolerable.

              1. re: Chris G.

                My husband and I were married in New Orleans a couple of years ago. We often dream of going back if only just for a trip to Cafe Du Monde for cafe au lait and beignets and, most importantly, The Acme Oyster Bar. A relative of ours was right: there simply isn't an oyster quite as tasty as those you'll find in N'awlins. I grew up on oyters from the PNW and was doubtful, but more than happy to try those harvested from the greater NO area.

                We had a wonderful couple of afternoons perched at the Acme counter trying everything we could manage to get down before going home again (got to watch the Saints/Rams game-wow, now that's some rowdy fun!). Those oysters on the half shell were most certainly the best I've tasted, a nice surprise. One of the best things we had was an Oyster Po'Boy stuffed with tender cornmeal-dredged fried oysters with Tabasco infused mayo. Oooooowheeeee, it was fine and washed down well with several Abita Voodoo Blackened Lagers. So far, we haven't had a Po'Boy quite like the ones we had in New Orleans (the best being at the Acme), but we find Uncle Darrow's to be pretty darn close although we've given up on the idea of tasting New Orleans here in LA (it's not possible to safely import oysters from Louisiana making it virtually impossible to duplicate the taste entirely anyway). Fine with me. I wouldn't say no to another trip to the Big Easy though we'll be taking along as many friends as we can next time.

                1. re: Lily
                  More of everything....

                  Ya you right! I always look forward to devouring a few hundred oysters each year in NOLA at Acme and Uglesich.

                  But then again, trying to find oysters comparable to New Orleans in LA is kinda like trying to find good Mexican in New Orleans comparable to LA.