Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Militant's Mess Hall: Born On A Bayou (Grille)

The Militant discovered he hadn't blogged all March so he figured he'd give you a two-fer today.

As you may or may not know, the Militant spent his Wednesday in Inglewood, trying to find meaning in some street named Arbor Vitae, because the Militant is such a street geek like that. Of course, he got a little hungry and making his way back to the Central area of Los Angeles where his compound lies, he decided to forgo the freeway and take the surface streets (as usual).

As he drove north on La Brea, he noticed something, the abundance of unique, non-chain restaurants along the corridor. There's the expected soul food joints (and certainly some of those might be definitely all that) but there were a few Caribbean eateries, and an esoteric joint called The Crab Pit, which hawks not the expected seafood, but its Killer Turkey Taco.

So here we go, all you foodies [Turns on megaphone] [Feedback squeals] Oh sorry about that.


The Militant decided to descend on one such place on La Brea to feast on. It's one of those places he's heard of before that he's never had the opportunity to check out.

The place is called Bayou Grille, on the corner of La Brea and 64th Place, boasting, "Authentic New Orleans Taste."

If you've been reading the Militant Angeleno recently, last month, in covering New Orleans locales in Los Angeles (Putting the 'MA' in Mardi Gras, Feb. 26), the Militant mentioned a couple places where some good New Orleans-style food can be found. But at the time he hadn't been here, so he left Bayou Grille out of his post. According to the woman at the counter, the place has been around for 11 years.

One of the Militant's fondest (sober) memories during his visit to New Orleans during an unspecified year in the last decade was having an oyster po-boy sandwich in a restaurant called Mother's in the downtown area. The bread was on point - slightly crusty on the outside, soft on the inside, the fried oysters were perfectly breaded and likewise internally soft. It was

The Militant searched high and low for something equivalent here in his hometown, but couldn't find it. The oysters were good but the bread wasn't right. Or vice-versa. Or he had the po-boy at the Gumbo Pot in Farmer's Market. The Militant was afraid that he would have to echo the classic utterance of transplants: "You just can't find decent _____ food out here."

Thankfully, he tried the Louisiana Oyster Po'Boy at the Bayou Grille ($7.29, 6").

Like, whoa. WHOA!

They got it. It was like the Militant was on Poydras St. again.

He washed it down with some Southern-style sweet tea (pre-sweetened iced tea, that is), which was only $1.50 (and free refills...lagniappe indeed!)

That was awesome. But what's even more awesome is their rather complete Louisiana creole menu: jambalaya, etoufee, file gumbo and boiled crawfish (Saturday and Sunday only). The prices are fairly reasonable compared to other New Orleans-style eateries in town. The Militant is definitely returning here!

The Militant was only one of seven customers inside, but this was a weekday afternoon. Apparently it gets rather crowded here during the weekends (must be that crawfish...). It's order-at-the-counter and sit-down style. It didn't take the Militant long to get his food and the lady behind the counter was cool and graciously thanked the Militant for the props he gave the place as he asked for a "Thank You" frequent customer card (your meal on your 10th visit is free!).

Okay, the Militant can spot a few of you out there (yes, you...and, not're cool...and you) with serious xenophobic reservations about Inglewood, with preconceived images of ghettoes and gangstas and stuff like this. The Militant's basic urban philosophy of people's perception being greater than reality hindering their knowledge of their City notwithstanding, the Militant has snapped this photo of the neighborhood just around the corner from Bayou Grille:
[sarcasm]As you can see it's a hideously ugly, blight-filled ghetto with run-down housing project buildings, crack-addicted homeless dudes sleeping in the streets, prostitutes hanging out in the corner, zero green space and several gangbangers pointing their AK-47s directly at the Militant [/sarcasm]. Puh-lease.

So yes, to say it again, the La Brea Ave. corridor in Inglewood (from Slauson in the north to Century in the south) is the undiscovered foodie frontier (are you listening, blog?). And if they won't tackle it, the Militant will!

Bayou Grille
1400 N. La Brea (at 64th Pl.)
310. 673.0824

Open Monday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday 12 noon to 6 p.m.

Free street parking or take (M) local bus 212 (Sorry, the nearby Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Line is gonna take a while...).

Item: Louisiana oyster po-boy ($7.29); Sweet tea ($1.50)


Anonymous said...

Haha... got it loud and clear! Thanks most def for the tip... it shall be noted!

Anonymous said...

Blogger brain farted on me. WEeatz = Anonymous in the previous post.

cindylu said...

This sounds yummy!

Anonymous said...

I drove by this restaurant last Sunday on my first trip to the "Westside" in four years last Sunday (of course I was diverting on La Brea to avoid the hostile territory farther west). Almost slammed on the brakes to check it out, but there was some transplant tailgating me in a BMW headed to Santa Monica no doubt. Oh well. Next time ...