99 Essential Restaurants 2014

R&R Soul Food

photo by Danny Liao

There are plenty of shinier soul-food spots in town, but we much prefer R&R Soul Food’s lived-in storefront with the neon “chitterlings” sign in the window of a slightly sad Carson strip mall. Unlike many such places, the food here is made to order, which makes all the difference with fried catfish, served piping hot and as crisp as can be on the outside, flakingly tender on the inside. The fried chicken is good, the smothered chicken is great, and the drive to Carson would be worth it for the sweet, moist corn muffins alone (the leftover muffins make a great breakfast the next day). Beyond the regular sides, like fantastic collards and a decidedly home-style mac and cheese, there’s succotash made with fresh okra and big hunks of tomato — nothing like the industrial stuff with uniformly diced frozen veggies that you might have been served elsewhere. If you’re dining in, you may have to endure very loud drama over baby-daddy lie detector tests blaring from the two huge televisions, but it’s worth it in every way for food that’s as comforting as it is inexpensive.

-- Besha Rodell