Now if you were driving down the street and passed by what looks like a real hole-in-the-wall and see a restaurant that goes by the name Louisiana Famous Seafood, Chicken & Donuts, wouldn't you stop by too to check it out? Well, I certainly did.
I walk into a small space with plastic red booths on either side. In front of me, there's definitely a donut case to the right which gives credence to the restaurant name. To the left is the counter where you place an order, which is being taken by the Chinese family that owns the joint. While I was trying to decide what to get and even while I was finally sitting down to eat, there was a fairly steady stream of African-American customers coming in and out. This restaurant definitely gives new meaning to the words, "Melting Pot."
The menu itself consists of a variety of fried items from chicken to seafood like fish and shrimp. Sides included gumbo, dirty fried rice and rice and beans and more. There were also Southern-style dessert options like 7-up cupcakes and sweet potato pies. If it wasn't for the donuts, I'd say that I was in a Popeye's restaurant clone, but it turns out Louisiana Fried Chicken (LFC) does have their own chain of restaurants all over LA County, although I think this is the only location that sells donuts as well.
Since I wanted to try a little bit of everything, I ordered one chicken leg, a few shrimp and one catfish as well as the dirty fried rice and a sweet potato pie. All my food was served on a tray, which also included ketchup, mustard, tarter sauce (which I think was house made) and sriracha sauce, a Chinese chili sauce. The sriracha sauce was a bit of surprise, but apropos considering the owners. As for all my fried goodies, I got to say they were all pretty tasty. Looking at them, I could tell that different batters were used just by the color, but also by the taste.
The fried catfish had what I think was a cornmeal batter. I thought the fish was cooked well. It was light, delicate and not rubbery. The batter was a little peppery which I liked, but it was also a little dry, almost as if it was baked as opposed to fried. There was also a slight tangy after taste, which wasn't unappealing, but unexpected.
As for the chicken, I would have liked it to be a little crispier, but the batter had really good flavor. It had a nice kick to it and when you look at the close-up picture I took of it, you can see the all spices that came to play. Also, the chicken meat was moist and tender, which made the eating experience even better.
Let's talk shrimp now. What I liked after my first bite was that the batter wasn't heavy and had a nice light crunch to it that I liked the best of all three of the fried items I had. My bite consisted of shrimp and batter, not batter, batter, batter, than shrimp, if you know what I mean.
Also, the tarter sauce that came with both the shrimp and fish was excellent. I can't tell for sure whether it's house made or from a bottle, but it had a nice tart creaminess to it that wasn't overly done. Usually, I shy away from store-bought tarter sauce because for me it has a plastic, sometimes sour-sweet taste that makes me scrunch my face when a dollop hits my tongue, but the one I had here was just right.
Overall, something else I wanted to point out was neither the chicken, fish or shrimp were too greasy. The majority of the time when you're eating fried foods, you can get a film on your fingertips, which you can just lick off, but there are also times you just don't want the feeling of having dipped your hands in an oil pan. You'll definitely leave there with much cleaner hands.
In regards to the dirty fried rice, I didn't care for it too much. It was too dry. The sweet potato pie was initially a disappointment because I was expecting it to have been made in-house, but perhaps that would have been too much for a Chinese family's sensibility. As it was, it came from a bakery and in retrospect; its sweetness was the perfect way to end my meal.
I'm glad I made my impromptu stop at Louisiana Fried Seafood, Chicken and Shrimp because I enjoyed my lunch at this quirky hole-in-the-wall. Next time, I may even check out their donuts or maybe, I'll put it with one of their fried items. Fried shrimp donut, anyone? Don't look so doubtful! Sweet and savory is a good combo. After all, it worked for Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles. :-D
To see pics, go to:
Louisiana Fried Chicken and Donuts
1515 N Lake Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91104