A slice of New Orleans…in Chinatown?
Who would have thought that a respectable bastion of New Orleans culture could be found in L.A., much less L.A.’s Chinatown, but here we are.
Little Jewel of New Orleans is not exactly on the main drags of Hill or Broadway, so you can be forgiven for not knowing where it is, or even having heard of it. It sits on Ord, well off the beaten path, well away from all the hustle and bustle of the souvenir stands, and the places there you can get a suit for twenty bucks.
Yet, when you walk in, most days, particularly at lunch…crowded as all get out. Good luck finding a table.
Little Jewel looks like a Market stepped just out of New Orleans, at least that’s what people who’ve been to New Orleans tell me. The vibe does have that feel, but what do I know?
It’s split into two halves. A restaurant half and a market half. To make things even stranger, you have to order on the Market half and then pick up whatever grub you get on the restaurant half.
In order to provide you with a proper assessment of the market half, I’m going to have to explore the Market half…which of course, I didn’t do. I’m here for a Po’ Boy, though a Muffuletta would do also. Though some of those Fried Zucchini look good too.
Then there’s the matter of getting a table. Ugh.
But once you get sat down. Once you bite into whatever it is your having. Oh, good Lord that is good.
The reason New Orleans is…well, New Orleans is that it’s got it’s own special way of doing things, things that make no sense whatsoever to the average outsider, but work somehow nonetheless.
Little Jewel, as I said, is no different. Remember the whole Market side/restaurant side thing? Well, they’ve got two menus. A regular menu, which you can see on the wall in pretty, pretty chalkboard. And a Specials Menu.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: So, of course what I had was from the Specials Menu. I got Sausage and Swiss Po-Boy, with a side of Fried Zucchini sticks.
Now, the Sausage part of the Sausage and Swiss was spectacular. Did I want to peel it out of my Po’ Boy an eat it as is? Yes, for sure I did. The combination itself makes for a pretty damn good sandwich. One I would probably want to have again.
The Fried Zucchini sticks bear no relation to anything healthy or good for you. But that’s why you’re eating them, right?
They are fantastic. Crisp, delicious, and piping hot of of the fryer. Need something to cool your tongue off? Try the Ranch dipping sauce that comes with. Awesome. Some issues with reheating, but…we’ll get to that later.
A second visit brought me the Double Wagyu and Gruyère Po’ Boy, which…while good, didn’t rock me like my Sausage and Swiss did. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a very tasty sandwich, and the meat was excellent. For some reason, I couldn’t get it out of my dome that I was having a very long hamburger. Even if the meat was premium Wagyu, it was still shaped into a long, long hamburger, with a little cheese and a lot of mushrooms. I couldn’t finish it all.
Which leads right into…
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Dear Lord, I can’t believe it.
I’m turning into my Father. I’m about to quote him now.
Don’t let your eyes fool your stomach.
There is a lot of good food at Little Jewel. A lot. And it comes at you in significant portions. You will leave both happy and stuffed, emphasis on the stuffed.
You would be well advised to go and get just the one thing.
Keep in mind I’m not trying to take food out the mouths of the fine people who run Little Jewel of New Orleans. They’re nice people, and they deserve to get well paid for all their hard work, but you’ve only got the one stomach.
I think their Fried Zucchini sticks are @#$%ing great. I’ve ordered them on both visits. They were awesome on both visits…at least what I could finish of them.
That’s right, I had to bring home Fried Zucchini sticks on both visits, and they don’t transfer well as leftovers. Either eat them in the restaurant, where they are heaven sent, or be prepared for a microwavable disappointment when you get home. The crispy goes away just as they get cold.
Going there for dinner is a civilized experience. Going there for lunch is a bit closer to hand to hand combat.
Not that anybody’s mean, but it is crowded. Good luck finding a table.
If you go at night, just be mindful or your surroundings. Ord Street is off the main Chinatown drags (which I consider Hill and Broadway), so things can feel a bit isolated at times. Keep your head on a swivel.
PARKING: You can chance it with a meter. There is a Parking Lot (a Police Parking lot, no less) that will charge you about $4 bucks to use. It closes at 7pm, so if you come here for Dinner you might find that Parking is very much free.
Little Jewel of New Orleans
207 Ord St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel: (213) 620-0461
Daily: 10:30 am – 9:00 pm