Best Southern/Soul Food: An authentically swampy taste of New Orleans
Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen
The Creole-style BBQ shrimp come in a matrix of Louisiana-style barbecue sauce the color of dirty caramel with the high wail of vinegar and the crotchety growl of darkened roux. Roux is the flour-and-butter sauce base that Creole cooks brown to near-burnt, and its dark shadow is typical of the flavors at this downtown Berkeley outpost of Crescent City cooking. The strengths of chef Brandon Dubea's kitchen lies in its deep-tasting sauces and solid shallow-frying skills. Both shine through a plate of buttermilk-fried chicken with tasso cream gravy especially the smoky snarl of the smoked ham. The oyster po'boy is straightforward, with oysters that are creamy and mineral-sweet underneath crisp cornmeal breading. And the gumbo is nicely tannic, with spicy undertones and a faintly weedy breath of file. Call it Louisiana classical: the vividness of New Orleans without the gaudy trappings of Big Easy caricature.