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Aug 27, 2009 01:26 PM

Where is the "real" cajun/Creole in LA county?

Not a NO native, but a huge fan. Just went and miss the food terribly. I've scoured this town up and down, and always find myself disappointed. Here's where I think it's lacking:

1) Gumbo Pot -- not real gumbo.
2) Harold & Belles -- okay, but uber-expensive.
3) Uncle Darrows -- something you'd find at an airport in NO and laugh at

And so on and so on. Where is the real deal? I want to feel like I'm in the quarter, Abita in my hand, wishing I could live here forever...

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  1. You hit the nail on the head. There just isn't enough of a demand for a lot of decent cajun or creole places in this city. I like the catfish po' boy at Gumbo pot, but a lot of hounders diss the place. You can do a search on this board, and read other lamenters as well. Unfortunately, it seems like Harold & Belle's is the best option, haven't been myself but it sounds like expensive soul food to me.

    When we lived in Pasadena, I knew a guy who opened a decent place in Monrovia's old town, but I'm assuming he's long gone, and I can't even recall the name of it. Would crave his jambalaya when I was pregnant.

    Anyway, you can always go 2 hours north to Santa Barbara and go to the Palace Cafe, we used to love that place, although from what I last read, it sounds like some CHers have dissed it. Good luck on your quest and do let us fans no if you find something decent.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Phurstluv

      We also removed a lengthy tangent about organizing a meetup. We're all for that, but we ask that organizers follow our guidelines so that the planning discussion for a private event doesn't clutter the board.


      1. re: Phurstluv

        Bumping this thread up because I'm a big NOLA fan, and I'm still looking.

        Here's a couple of things. I went to Farmer's Market for Mardi Gras last night. Great party as always, and ate from Gumbo Pot (which is, yes, very mediocre.)

        But am I hallucinating or did they change their recipes? I ordered the étouffé, and it was _inedibly_ spicy_. This coming from someone who has no problem with the upper reaches of Scoville scale. It actually looked like Sichuan Boiled Fish: the same layer of chili oil floating on top. I could have eaten it on a dare, I took it back. The big bro who was managing said, "Yeah, it's the spiciest dish on the menu." He happily replaced it with Gumbo Ya-Ya, which was still hella hot and actually pretty tasty although unlike any gumbo I've had in NOLA. It

        Gumbo Pot's blackened catfish sandwich is still my go to at Farmer's Market. And I don't think I remembered that they have $1.15 Gulf oysters, which if you don't mind gulf oysters is a good deal. Got a half dozen and they were delicious and reasonably well shucked.

        The best news to report is that Harold and Belle's now has a spot at the County Fair, and the prices are reasonable. I think that's probably the best gumbo I've had. (It's right near Pink's, where I get a yearly fix, without the line.)

        Any other updates?

        1. re: jesstifer

          I have yet to find really satisfying New Orleans/cajun grub in LA. Whenever I'm dying for a fix of something from back home, I head to Popeye's Fried Chicken for their spicy chicken, and an order or two of their red beans and rice. During Crawfish season, you can find the real deal mudbugs at New Orleans Fish Market on Vernon. Their po-boys are OK, but won't fool anyone who's ever had the authentic stuff. FWIW, I make my own lazy-mans gumbo using one of the box mixes like Tonys or Zatarains and kick it up a notch...saute onions, celery and bell pepper, smoked sausage and shrimp (get shrimp in the shell and peal them and boil the shells for stock - makes a HUGE difference. Add a dash of mace and some chopped parsley and green onions at the end and enjoy. Better than anything I've found around town...

      2. The closest great cajun and creole food? Get on the 10 East and go about 1,500 miles.

        Seriously though, what you've listed is aobut what there is. I used to like the Po Boys at the Venice Blvd Uncle Darrows but I haven't been to the Marina del Rey outlet.

        For muffalettas, which I realize aren't exactly Cajun or Creole but very NO, the deli at Little Dom's on Hillhurst has a good rendition.

        6 Replies
        1. re: sku

          The MDR Uncle Darrow's is fair, at it's best.

          1. re: Phurstluv

            Same with the Gumbo Pot, H&Belle's, Ragin Cajun in Hermosa.
            Best I've had hereabouts (and that ain't saying much) is Creole Chef which get's no more than 50% right: which is good -- very good -- for this La.

            1. re: Ciao Bob

              I was a big fan of Creole Chef but Creole Chef closed after being held up at gunpoint. I heard that they are looking to relocate though.

                1. re: Phurstluv

                  Adjacent to The Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.


                  Creole Chef
                  3715 Santa Rosalia Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90008

            2. re: Phurstluv

              I strongly disagree, it sucks!!!!!!

          2. Here are a couple places on my radar that I’ve been intending to try. I’ve heard good reports about them but can’t personally vouch for them yet.

            Gumbo Shack

            Bayou Grill 1400 N La Brea Ave. Inglewood. Open 11-9

            14 Replies
            1. re: Sam D.

              The Bayou Grille http://www.bayougrille.net/ in Inglewood just got a very good review by Linda Burum in today's LA Times food section. I have a lot of respect for Ms. Burum's taste in food and this place sounds like a real winner.

              If you want to read the review you can find it here: http://www.latimes.com/features/food/...

              1. re: Servorg

                Thanks for the link! The description of the étouffée sounds authentic and delicious!

                However, the jambalaya and gumbo are made with turkey sausage instead of andouille; that just ain't right! ;)

                1. re: vinosnob

                  "However, the jambalaya and gumbo are made with turkey sausage instead of andouille; that just ain't right! ;)"

                  I wonder if, with proper spicing, whether you could wind up telling the difference?

                  1. re: Servorg

                    I think so; you just can't fake the pork fat!

                    1. re: vinosnob

                      Been there and it's nothing close to the real deal however they make a good attempt. Rice was dry, gumbo was lacking in meat of any kind, but the service was great and I'm sure there are other things on the menu that may appeal to some. I also went on a Sunday afternoon which may have a been a slow period for them and things weren't fully up to par. In my unsatiated state, I walked across the parking lot to Bodacious Q and had some great ribs and brisket.

                      Bodacious Q
                      637 E University Dr, Carson, CA 90746

              2. re: Sam D.

                I'm not sure if they re-opened under a new name or changed ownership, but Gumbo Shack is now known as Mama Pat's Gumbo and Grille (http://patsgumbogrill.com/). Anyone try the "new" Gumbo Shack yet?

                1. re: mstinawu

                  Your link doesn't work. Please, do tell us where that place is!!

                  1. re: mstinawu

                    You can't end hyper links on CH with any punctuation or it gets caught up in your link's address and corrupts it. Here is a working link: http://patsgumbogrill.com/

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Thanks for the link, Serv, at least now I have an address. Too bad their own link to their menu is also not working <<sigh>>............

                      1. re: Phurstluv

                        It actually does work if you go to the top bar and click on Picture Tasks and select export slide show and follow the prompts. Why they elected to set up that particular feature is beyond me however.

                        1. re: Servorg

                          Oh for G's sake, are u kidding me?? Too much work. Will try it after I make the kids' dinners, thanks for the info.

                          You going?? My husband went to school in the south and CANNOT get enough cajun food, so I'm scouting out places for him. Not that I don't eat it, love the stuff....

                          1. re: Phurstluv

                            Maybe one of these days. I have Bludso's higher on my list after reading exile on main street kisses review http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7300... and looking over the photos.

                            1. re: Servorg

                              Yea, I hear ya, gotta make my way over there too!! We're both bbq 'hounds over here!

                              1. re: Phurstluv

                                Made reservations for Little Dom's on March 6, see how their Mardi Gras menu is. This is the blurb:

                                "There will be king cake: Dominick's and Little Dom's are celebrating
                                Mardi Gras this year. Chef Brandon Boudet, a New Orleans native, will
                                be cooking additional dishes (along with what's on the regular menu)
                                for dinner March 5 to 8. Gumbo, jambalaya, crayfish pie and beignets
                                are just some of the offerings. Plus mini king cakes. Prices are $4 to
                                $8. Dominick's, 8715 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 652-2335;
                                www.dominicksrestaurant.com; Little Dom's, 2128 Hillhurst Ave., Los
                                Angeles; (323) 661-0055; www.littledoms.com"

                                Anybody been in the past? How was it? Haven't really had a good bowl of gumbo (that I didn't make myself) in years.

                                Little Dom's
                                2128 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                2. The original comment has been removed
                  1. We split a recipe for gumbo to the Home Cooking board. For make-yourself discussion, please go here