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Soul Food Trial
Versus Powell's Place


Gravy's Soul Food Restaurant
2511 Geneva Avenue/Pueblo St., Daly City
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Pretrial hearing at Special Counsel Andy's chambers

Guest Judge - Special Counsel Andy

Location, 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 A few mismatched tables and chairs, an outdated Pac Man knock-off, a greasy ordering window and a fine selection of Avon products for sale are all that Gravy's offers by way of ambiance.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.



No, 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.



A few things about Gravy's. First, it's off the beaten path. You need a car to get there unless you like the long, long bus ride. Luckily we had Guest Judge Lax taking care of our transportation needs. Second, they refer to themselves as mostly a take out restaurant -- even if you eat in it's packaged to go. There are a few seats available so eat in if you can. I recommend going during off hours to increase your chances for that seat.

I went for the dinner with two sides combo, running me eight dollars and fifty cents, and boy was my styrofoam container bursting with food. My choice was the pork spare ribs with macaroni and cheese and red beans. It also came with rice and hush puppies. The ribs were good. Lots of meat and tasty enough, but not quite as tasty as the barbecue smoky style you might get at a barbecue joint. I guess that's what I prefer in my ribs. The sides were delicious and came in large portions. A new treat for me were the hush puppies, fried corn meal with a light smattering of peppers to liven 'em up a bit. I definitely recommend the pups. The four of us shared a shrimp poor boy. I was so stuffed by the time we got around to busting it out that I don't feel I did it justice. My couple of bites were very good and full of yummy fried shrimp. I believe it could have stood on its own and made a fine, yet lighter meal. I have to say that Judge Turner probably ordered the better meal. He had the fried chicken and although I only took one bite I know what I'm getting on my next visit to Gravy's. I look forward to returning at least a few more times to sample some more of the choices off their extensive menu. Oh yeah, don't forget to finish it off with a nice slice of sweet potato pie, if you can squeeze it in.






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