A Bayou Country Story
Marina Del Ray, CA
“Once upon a time,” a family of Bayou country kinfolks with a vision to open an eatery did so in1994 after finding a 600 square foot shack on Venice Blvd. They named it Uncle Darrow’s, and featured their Cajun/Creole family recipes covering many generations, luring the likes of Whoopi, Roseanne, Johnnie Cochran, and Quincy Jones. It has since been replaced with their newest one at 2560 S. Lincoln Blvd., Marina del Rey, a stones throw from Costco on Washington Blvd.
It’s not the Ritz, no glitz, but very popular with an “A” in the window; and a patio for “take-out or sit-in” dining, with stainless steel tables, and loads of free parking in the rear. For the generation that missed the popularity of our Cajun restaurants, a bit of history helps one to better understand this kind of cooking. The name Cajun comes from a combination of two words combining Acadian; (those who came from the French Colony of Acadia to settle in Louisiana) and their pronunciation of the word Indian, which became “Injun.” Their food has a history of its own, stemming from the finest blend of Spanish, Black, French, and Choctaw Indian herbs and spices. In New Orleans, when the Creole (Spanish‑Negro) City cooking got a little boring, they'd get some new husky flavors from the Cajuns, (French and Indian) down in the swamp country, better known as the Bayou. This place really knows how to do it.
But I believe this family who started Uncle Darrow’s; Norwood J. Clark Jr., Ronald Washington, Ronald Smith, and Samuel Small, Jr. “took their first step on the moon” when they decided to use fish and poultry only; leaving out the obligatory pork and beef from all the cooking. You will never see additives, preservatives or MSG in their kitchens; each dish is prepared to order, and all the ingredients are natural. Even the Catfish is farm-raised and grain-fed out of Mississippi. The sausage used is100% turkey or chicken with no fillers or cereal, and they bake their own bread. Personal pride is also taken in the way their red-beans are prepared and cooked for 24-hours; plus the fact that all their seafood is fresh, never frozen. And then there’s those fabulous sweet tater pies, Kookies, Karamel Korn, Cajun “pa-cawn” candy, and peachy cobbler. “C'est bon Comme la vie," (it's as good as life itself").
And as the family often says, “so you won’t be embarrassed when your knees start to buckle and your lips begin to quiver at the thought of tasting the addictive flavor-filled glory of Uncle Darrow’s products, you’re in good company.” Some high profile people who have become fans include the cast of “Married With Children,” Los Angeles Lakers, CNN America, Nordstrom, Neiman-Marcus, Bristol Farms, Gelson’s, Costco, Starbucks, (for their baked goods) Magic Johnson Enterprises, and RCA Record Co.
The portions are humongous with the “Big Easy Supper” served on Friday, Saturday and Sundays, ($16.99). It’s a jumbo platter of lightly fried cornmeal coated farm-fed catfish, shrimp and oysters, sided with Jumbalaya, ( a delicious blend of turkey and chicken sausage with rice) along with the best potato salad on this planet, plus their homemade bread. But there’s a Combo Supper served daily, (without oysters) for $14.99. Or you may select Bean-Balaya, a combination of red beans simmered in a spicy sauce blanketed over freshly steamed rice, combined with Jumbalaya, ($8.99). Among several “Po’Boys,” the popular “Zeek” gets attention with a platter of catfish, shrimp and their fabulous tater salad, ($8.99). However, you may have an order of chicken links, catfish, or shrimp priced from $5.95-$8.95, respectfully.
Try breakfast for much less than $10, including Flap Jacks, Cajun waffles topped with pecans, biscuits & Mamma’s gravy, Chicken Sausage Patties, Salmon Croquettes, Catfish, Shrimp, Cajun Turkey bacon; or two Ranch eggs with tates, grits, rice and French bread or buttermilk biscuits. There's also Mini Meals, Chickoree coffee, and a whole bunch of good stuff and new tastes.
It’s no wonder that Uncle Darrow’s has been featured on KABC Channel 7, Elmer Dills; KABC radio, Merill Shindler; The L.A. Business Journal, and L.A Weekly. 2560 Lincoln Blvd. Marina Del Rey CA 90291; Major credit cards accepted; free parking; catering. Marina del Rey; (310) 306-4862; For more information, visit www.uncledarrows.com
PS Don’t ever miss their Mardi Gras! It comes with entertainment, and it's free! If you love Cajun bands, you will love the day.