location, location right? Well, somebody forgot to tell Letha at Gravy's
that cardinal rule of restauranteuring. Other than being across the
street from the Cow Palace (ask Judge Turner about his family's involvement
in cattle shows at the CP) there is not much that would lead anyone
to look for things culinary in this seedy section of Daly City. That
is, not much except for the barely legible hand-scrawled "We Got Gumbo"
sign outside Gravy's.
The lack of charm
outside Gravy's is continued on the inside. When they say they are a
take-out place, listen up. A few mismatched tables and chairs, an outdated
Pac Man knock-off, a greasy ordering window and a fine selection of
Avon products for sale are all that Gravy's offers by way of ambiance.
But for god sakes man, you don't go to Gravy's for finery. Here its
all about the meat. Cow meat, pig meat, chicken meat and fish meat.
And I was pretty sure I heard Letha call out for an order of muskrat.
She may have said "basket" as in "of fried chicken" but I decided it
was best not to investigate.
Back to the meat:
The pork ribs
were about as tender as you could hope for, meat falling off the bone
all willy nilly. And the parts that were actually meat tasted damn fine.
The parts that were weird cartilage I didn't eat so I cant speak to
their tastiness. The sauce was pretty good, no Memphis Minnie's but
a stand-up sauce in its own right.
The fried catfish
was fried. That makes everything good. In my way of thinking deep frying
is to food what monkeys are to fun. Nuff said.
The Shrimp PoBoy:
Read above about the catfish and sub in shrimp. Add in tomatoes, lettuce
and some unnecessary mayo and you have the PoBoy. A whole lotta sandwich.
A whole lotta love.
The Fried Chicken.
Oh the Fried Chicken. So crispy. So succulent. So love-ed. How such
a greasy place manages to keep the grease away from the fried chicken
is a mystery to me but I'm not complaining. This is fried chicken as
it was meant to be. And all this praise is from one bite I ate out of
Judge Turners basket. It was well worth the twenty minute wait.
There was also a
bunch of stuff from lower down on the food chain. Red beans, black eyed
peas, mashers, collard greens. All good, nothing to write home about.
But then there were the hushpuppies. Sweet golden nuggets of all that
is sweet and just. What ill could you speak of cornbread subjected to
the love of the deep fryer? None. And they also had, as you might expect,
gravy. Gravy's gravy was good, thick and meaty but if I were them Id
call the place Hushpuppies.
As far as the beverage
list, I suggest the non-vintage RC. The cola-forward flavors of the
soda pair well with the smoky nuances of the BBQ.
we didn't have the gumbo. But we had lots of other great eats. Right
across from the Cow Palace might not be the first place you would think
to dine, but if you like New Orleans-style soul food, ya gotta go. The
neighborhood does get a little dicey at times, I've heard, but
don't let that stop you!
Gravy's is tiny,
with very little seating, so think about getting it to go. The menus
are perplexing, but I'll tell you what I had. FRIED CHICKEN, 3 PIECES
DARK. Took a while, but I've never had better fried chicken. Except
my mom's, of course. The breading was well seasoned, and it clung to
the chicken in a delightful way. Excellent. I had red beans and rice
for one side, and they were quite good. Not as mushy as some RB&R
I've had, but it was a fresh pot. Collard greens, too, which
were right-on. None of the bitterness you might encounter, and the pot-liquor
flavor shone through. The hush puppies...oh my. Great! Crispity crunchy
on the outside, tender and flavorful on the inside. Best I've had. Except
for my mom's, of course. She puts onions in there. I don't like jalapenos
as a rule, but the mixing of pepper bits in these puppies makes for
a subtle bite that really works. That was more than I could eat. Good-size
portions. My meal set me back $10.47 with an RC Cola.
Then there was our
"appetizer", the shrimp Poor Boy. I had a shrimp Po Boy at
a gas station in Louisiana that I will never forget. Stunning. We're
talking about a fried shrimp sandwich here! A submarine, hoagie, or
grinder to some of you. This one was good, but sadly they chose a Dutch
Crunch roll to put it on. A soft sweet French roll is the way to go.
Like that gas station....ayeeee.
I had a bite of
Judge Vardigan's catfish and it was perfect. As for those ribs: I don't
know. They tasted okay, but I don't think there's any real smoke involved,
so why bother?
All in all I'd say
they are definitely serving up the authentic grub there. The fact that
they offer seafood Poor Boys testifies to that. And you could get out
of there cheap if you watch your portions and sides. I doubt there's
a better soul food joint around here, so if you got a hankerin', get
on down there.
So the judges (plus
guest judge Ask Andy) packed up their potentially priceless heirlooms
and hustled down to the Cow Palace for the Antique Roadshow's visit
to the Bay Area. After being turned away at the door because of my laughable
1964 Biff Pocoroba rookie card, the Court crossed the street to soak
its disappointment in Gravy's gravy.
And what fine gravy
it is. I had it over mashed potatoes (rich and lumpy -- the gravy and
the potatoes), alongside my order of fried catfish, greens, and hush
puppies. The fried catfish was excellent, but I found myself longing
instead for the smothered steak I saw at another table. It seems like
everything at a place called Gravy's should be covered in something.
Seating is limited,
and it takes quite a while to get certain orders (fried chicken, in
particular). It would be wise to call ahead, and getting it to go is
not a bad idea, because most of this stuff would travel pretty well.