Happy Mardi Gras everyone! I’ve been hearing a lot about it from friends that are missing the South and transplanted to Los Angeles. While I’m a native Pennsylvanian, I’ve had plenty of cajun food while I lived in Georgia and sometimes you miss those incredible blackened spices, deadly tender seafood, and ridiculously developed flavor profiles that take a minimum of 18 hours to conjure! Uncle Darrow’s is the perfect place to go when you get that craving.
Soft Shell Crab Po’ Boy
I’ve had quite a few po’ boys, but I’d never had one with soft shell crab. It was a great sandwich and exactly what I was looking for. The crab was perfectly fried with a balance of crunch and flaky crab meat. The roll was nice and buttery, I got mine with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo then I drizzled it with some hot sauce and it all came together for a few brief amazing seconds before it was gone.
The Stimulus Package is the Uncle Darrow’s special that comes with cajun shrimp and catfish (fried or grilled, went grilled this time), tater salad, red beans and rice, and corn bread. I’ll start with the corn bread, because I LOVE corn bread, it was moist and flaky with the right type of golden brown top. Next comes the red beans and rice, the red beans is slowly simmered in a spicy sauce then poured on top of freshly steamed white rice. The white rice is soft and tender enough to yield to the flavor of the red bean sauce and the red beans themselves are meaty. It’s extraordinarily simple preparation allows you to enjoy the bold flavors and textures. The tater salad was a good balance of tangy, and creamy. The potatoes, a good balance of mashed and chunked. I can’t get enough of a good potato salad, and I kept going back for seconds! The shrimp and catfish were covered in a blackening rub then grilled. The shrimp were butterflied and cooked slightly past the melt in your mouth stage of shrimp and into the meaty texture and flavor that holds up to these strong spices stage yielding some great shrimp. The catfish did in fact melt in your mouth, but it worked with the bold flavors due to the fish flesh to seasoning ratio. I’ll be getting this again and seeing the variation in the fried version!
I’m hit and miss with hush puppies, it’s really about what the chef is trying to do. And Uncle Darrow’s doing classic tight formed golden brown crunchy, lightly fluffy, hush puppies. While I personally like mine a little fluffier with more aeration in the puppy batter, but that’s my personal preference, and these were still delicious. They were made even better by a festive green ranch dip that’s spicy. The ranch spice is perfect because you get the cool ranch, but as it fades it’s replaced by a heat that lingers, and you’ll miss it when it’s gone. . . or until you eat the next hush puppy.
Uncle Darrow’s has been a place I saw and wanted to try, then it slid to the back of my head. It came back to me while trying to take a nice lady on a date and the first restaurant we tried was closed. I immediately thought of Uncle Darrow’s, knowing that we would both enjoy some delicious simple food. To clarify, simple is a compliment, to cook something closest to its original state without needing to change much is a great feat that takes years of dedication to get to. I really enjoyed Uncle Darrow’s and I’m excited to go back and try the gumbo, the fried oysters, and just about everything else on the menu!
Have you been to Uncle Darrow’s? Do you know any other Cajun/Creole style restaurants you want to share? What’s your favorite Cajun dish? Be sure to leave your comments and questions below!