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Gumbo?

monkuboy Jul 29, 2009 10:01 PM

Can anyone suggest a good place for gumbo on a Saturday for lunch? Preferably from the Crenshaw area east along the 10 to the SGV, or the Pasadena area. It has to be a place where you can sit down and eat there (not necessarily with waiters, but no takeout-only places). It seems a lot of places are no longer in business or are takeout only.

Anyone? Thanks in advance!

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  1. Servorg RE: monkuboy Jul 30, 2009 06:14 AM

    This has been a pretty popular topic over the years. Since Orleans in WLA closed we have been pretty bereft of excellent, local options. While I don't think it's exactly in your preferred geographic area (it is east of Crenshaw Blvd. but south of the 10 frwy) it seems that Harold & Belle's is the consensus winner on the LA board for gumbo. The link to Menu Pages has an online menu attached (use the so called "printable" pdf choice one over the "on screen" menu choice).

    http://losangeles.menupages.com/resta...

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    Harold & Belle's Restaurant
    2920 W Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018

    1. ipsedixit RE: monkuboy Jul 30, 2009 09:03 AM

      Brix42 in Pasadena.

      http://brix42.com/

      1. Phurstluv RE: monkuboy Jul 30, 2009 10:58 AM

        We love the Gumbo Pot in the Farmer's Market on 3rd & Fairfax. Best catfish po' boys, too.

        -----
        Gumbo Pot
        6333 W 3rd St Ste 312, Los Angeles, CA 90036

        2 Replies
        1. re: Phurstluv
          b
          Bjartmarr RE: Phurstluv Jul 30, 2009 12:42 PM

          Gumbo Pot does a nice dish of RB&R (almost as good as my own ;), and their gumbo is okay. But I was very, very disappointed with their oyster po'boy. I didn't like their dry, tasteless bread; the lemon slices were a distraction (albeit one that was easily removed); and they were stingy with the oysters. Perhaps the catfish is better.

          1. re: Bjartmarr
            Will Owen RE: Bjartmarr Jul 30, 2009 05:16 PM

            I do not consider gumbo to be Gourmet Food - my own tends to be just kinda flung together, and I like it that way. So long as it's nicely seasoned and tastes of all its good ingredients, and not like something from a can, we're cool. The Gumbo Pot does a good job on this, I think, and I love sitting in the area next to it with friends for hours, just talking and nibbling and sipping. Yup, fish po'boy is better, and I love their Cajun potato salad, too - I even get that when I've gotten a corned beef sandwich from Magee's.

        2. monkuboy RE: monkuboy Jul 30, 2009 11:16 AM

          Thanks for the replies. I didn't think Harold and Belle's was open for lunch but I see they are. Actually I was looking to spend less than that, though - they're really expensive. Something more like $15 or under. Harold and Belles is right in the area I was thinking of; I don't mind places near Crenshaw, it's where I grew up!

          Ipsedixit - is Brix 42 good? I looked at the menu and it looks like one of those try to please everyone kind of places but if you recommend it, there must be some merit to it! Gumbo just seems out of place on that menu, though, which is why I asked. Thanks.

          19 Replies
          1. re: monkuboy
            ipsedixit RE: monkuboy Jul 30, 2009 11:33 AM

            monkuboy,

            Wish I could help you out some more, but only been there for Happy Hour (and spied that they had gumbo, as well as some cajun bbq fries).

            I did try the calamari and the pot roast, which were both ok but nothing to write home about.

            1. re: ipsedixit
              E Eto RE: ipsedixit Jul 30, 2009 12:29 PM

              Let me get this straight. You're recommending a dish at a place you've only been to for happy hour, and never tried the dish? And other dishes you've tried there was "nothing to write home about?" I'll remember this for future reference.

              For the OP, I don't think you'll find a proper gumbo for much less than Harold & Belle's. Even when Stevie's on the Strip was on the corner of Jefferson/Crenshaw with their burger counter service, it wasn't cheap. You might find it cheaper at the Gumbo Pot in the Farmer's Market, but it'll be nowhere as good as the one at Harold & Belle's. Most of the other options are going to be South or West of your starting point.

              1. re: E Eto
                monkuboy RE: E Eto Jul 30, 2009 01:56 PM

                Thanks for the info.. actually my daughter wanted some gumbo. Me, pretty much the main gumbo I've eaten is Campbell's chicken gumbo soup, lol.. maybe if it was her birthday or something we'd go to Harold and Belle's but this is just a casual lunch get-together so that's too rich for the occasion, haha.. thanks, though. I did think of Stevie's but found out some imposters took over that location. Maybe we'll just hit Golden Bird or somewhere like that.. we're both big fans. As for the mentions of Gumbo Pot - I wouldn't mind trying that except it is too far in the other direction.

                Edit: oops, just looked at the H&B site and see that the gumbo isn't all that bad. $12 small and $18 big. I think I got all mixed up when I saw that they charge $26 for fried chicken.. $26 for fried chicken??? That sounds kind of steep! But the gumbo price is reasonable.

                1. re: monkuboy
                  Servorg RE: monkuboy Jul 30, 2009 03:53 PM

                  Monkuboy, if you are incredulous at $26 for fried chicken at H & B's then don't ever wander into Boneyard Bistro and order it on some Monday night, because it's $30 there. Instead of Golden Bird that bird must be made of gold. ;-D>

                  1. re: Servorg
                    monkuboy RE: Servorg Jul 30, 2009 05:50 PM

                    I guess I've been out of the fried chicken loop too long! lol.. actually there are two prices at H&B, I guess dinner it is $26 and lunch you can get by for only $22. Still, fried chicken is fried chicken. How much can it cost to make that?

                  2. re: monkuboy
                    d
                    Davebr RE: monkuboy Jul 30, 2009 10:07 PM

                    $18 for Gumbo?!?!?!? $26 for friend chicken?!?!?! How many chickens? What am I waiting for? My sorry coon-ass can make some incredible gumbo and fried chicken. Too bad there's no cheap rent around here.

                    1. re: Davebr
                      monkuboy RE: Davebr Jul 31, 2009 07:06 AM

                      1/2 a chicken.. I hope that at least they are from Foster Farms! ; )

                      1. re: Davebr
                        s
                        silverlakebodhisattva RE: Davebr Jul 31, 2009 02:38 PM

                        Well, that's a major part of the difference, along with taxes, workers' comp coverage, insurance, licensing, and the cost of getting decent gumbo ingredients here. (Just as Bourdain observed that if the only fish you can get is some farm-raised salmon, you're barkin' up the wrong tree if you try to make real boulibaise, if the only thing you can get are some pre-cooked frozen thawed shrimp and an oyster in a jar, don't try to make seafood gumbo!)

                        That, and there's simply no real serious demand. Los Angeles keeps about as many Cajun/Creole restos going at a time as they do clubs with live jazz; new ones open only when or after one closes. There's just no way you'll likely ever see a bunch of places in Los Angeles selling (at least passable, if not damn good) gumbo for $5.00 a bowl, like in New Orleans...

                        1. re: silverlakebodhisattva
                          Phurstluv RE: silverlakebodhisattva Jul 31, 2009 02:55 PM

                          Exactly, nail on the head. Like I said earlier, houston & new orleans are very high bars to set for this town for cajun/creole food.

                          1. re: Phurstluv
                            d
                            Davebr RE: Phurstluv Aug 3, 2009 11:12 PM

                            A lot of cuisines are extremely well represented in Los Angeles. I dont see why Cajun and Creole should be any different. I've made some great gumbo here---albeit not truly authentic. Its like anything, take the freshest ingredients you can find. The most trouble I have had has been with finding decent smoked spicy sausage(andouille) and that nasty Chinese crawfish.
                            Has anyone noticed there seems to be a decent amount of po-boy/crawfish joints opening up around California by the Vietnamese transplants?

                            1. re: Davebr
                              Phurstluv RE: Davebr Aug 4, 2009 08:58 AM

                              Hey I hear ya, you're preachin' to the choir! But as I said above, I think silverlake... said it best that the demand is not sufficient enough to keep them open for long. There are some places that've been around for a while, and have a certain following, Uncle Darrow's & Gumbo Pot being two examples, but most true southerners or people who've experienced true gumbo, et al., don't think those places even compare.

                              Where do you find decent po' boy /crawfish places? Do tell....

                              1. re: Phurstluv
                                e
                                epop RE: Phurstluv Aug 4, 2009 04:25 PM

                                I don't like Uncle Darrow and Gumbo Pot not bc they aren't authentic (which they aren't, yes). It is because the food tastes terrible, period.

                                1. re: epop
                                  Phurstluv RE: epop Aug 4, 2009 06:46 PM

                                  Agree with you on Uncle Darrow's. Don't like it, doesn't taste like much, let alone cajun or creole, and it seems more like soul food to me.

                                  Haven't been to the FM in years, maybe the pot's changed, but it used to be on e of the few decent cajun places in the city. Possible they have changed chefs or recipes, I don't know.

                    2. re: E Eto
                      Professor Salt RE: E Eto Jul 30, 2009 01:59 PM

                      Does anyone know if Stevie's in Encino is still open? Their website is down and the phone number just rings and rings. (818) 528-3500

                      It'd be a damn shame if that location closed too. I miss the old Stevie's on the Strip.

                      1. re: E Eto
                        ipsedixit RE: E Eto Jul 30, 2009 03:43 PM

                        "Let me get this straight. You're recommending a dish at a place you've only been to for happy hour, and never tried the dish? And other dishes you've tried there was "nothing to write home about?" "
                        ______________________________________________________

                        Yes, that's exactly right.

                        And, please, do remember it for future reference.

                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          Phurstluv RE: ipsedixit Jul 30, 2009 03:52 PM

                          Gotta agree with E Eto, tho, it is a little risky. And you've got to expect to be called on it.

                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            E Eto RE: ipsedixit Jul 30, 2009 07:35 PM

                            Reference noted. You just gave me a better perspective on why I've always distrusted any of your recommendations, besides for Chinese food. Thanks for explaining.

                            1. re: E Eto
                              ipsedixit RE: E Eto Jul 30, 2009 09:52 PM

                              E Eto,

                              In looking at it again, my initial response to your post was probably too hasty, and in hindsight bordering on terse and perhaps rude. No offense intended.

                              Cheers.

                          2. re: E Eto
                            k
                            kevin RE: E Eto Aug 4, 2009 07:01 PM

                            yeah, everytime i looked at the mcdonald's style writing at stevie's on the strip the entrees and gumbo seemed to be int he mid teens and that was a whole decade ago. i still miss it.

                      2. orythedog RE: monkuboy Jul 31, 2009 12:20 PM

                        Next to pancakes & bbq, my next favorite topic is gumbo. I have yet to find ANYTHING passable in Los Angeles or surrounding areas. As a barometer for comparison I think about the best gumbo I have had in Houston, Tx & New Orleans. I have been to both cajun places in the beach areas, the horrible place at the farmers market and Harold & Belles. They all suck! Take Harold and Belles: It is watery, seemingly made with no roux, and godawful expensive. It's a trip because everything else there (fried food, etoufeee, etc..) is really tasty. I would like to hear anyone who knows anything about gumbo make a case for theirs. Gumbo Pot, in my humble opinion, can't even make a poboy right no less gumbo. So, like the OP asks, where is the good gumbo. I am also curious to know if anyone has had gumbo form the place in Pasadena that makes fruit cobbler.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: orythedog
                          Phurstluv RE: orythedog Jul 31, 2009 01:46 PM

                          That's an extremely high bar - houston & new orleans.

                        2. mrshankly RE: monkuboy Jul 31, 2009 12:40 PM

                          This may sound crazy and I may get flamed for it but I recently tried the Seafood Gumbo at Whole Foods and it definitely did not disappoint. Not sure if there's a Whole Foods on your route but they also have (most do, at least) a section where you can eat there. Plus, I'm not sure if Whole Foods is too informal for what you're looking for but I figured I'd suggest it as something to try.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: mrshankly
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                            epop RE: mrshankly Jul 31, 2009 01:03 PM

                            Whole Foods - It may taste good but it doesn't qualify as a gumbo.

                            The worst gumbo I ever had, btw, is at the Gumbo Pot.

                            1. re: epop
                              mrshankly RE: epop Jul 31, 2009 01:52 PM

                              It's gumbo at Whole Foods... I've had gumbo in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana and Whole Foods version qualifies as gumbo.

                              And I agree... the Gumbo Pot is a weak example at best of good gumbo.

                              1. re: mrshankly
                                e
                                epop RE: mrshankly Jul 31, 2009 05:11 PM

                                For me the Whole Foods version isn't thick enough. It doesn't have the right consistency. Not enough okra.

                                1. re: epop
                                  mrshankly RE: epop Jul 31, 2009 05:24 PM

                                  True... good point... then again, as others have said, is anything in LA gonna really match up to gumbo from the south? Sadly, no:(

                                  1. re: mrshankly
                                    e
                                    epop RE: mrshankly Jul 31, 2009 07:34 PM

                                    I wasn't crazy about their gumbo but I may order it anyway, just to have something decent: http://www.gumboshop.com

                                    Gumbo here could match up. I think it takes the right touch. The price might be high, given the high quality of seafood. But someone really should be able to make a great broth.

                                    Whole Foods screws up most recipes. Take their tabbouleh -- it is made with vinegar. I asked a local manager about it and he laughed when I said why would you.

                          2. c
                            Citron58 RE: monkuboy Jul 31, 2009 12:50 PM

                            Here's one out of left field. Years ago, when there was a Red Lobster in Studio City, they had a surprisingly good gumbo. And I'm from New Orleans. I wonder if that's true of other branches? .

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Citron58
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                              ultraviolet RE: Citron58 Jul 31, 2009 11:57 PM

                              Really? Maybe they had a cook from N.O.

                            2. u
                              ultraviolet RE: monkuboy Jul 31, 2009 11:55 PM

                              I'm from New Orleans and I've never had a gumbo here that even compared.
                              I've had valiant, tasty attempts but I prefer to think of them as soups.
                              If I go in expecting gumbo I'll be dissapointed.

                              1. s
                                subal RE: monkuboy Aug 1, 2009 07:20 PM

                                Bayou St John in Seal Beach for top Cajan; if their still there!

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