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The Find: Bayou Grill in Inglewood

March 25, 2010 |  6:00 am

When you inhale the aroma of a rich, spicy crawfish étouffée at Bayou Grille on South La Brea, you're following the scent of Louisiana's Creole culinary past. Unlike countrified Cajun cooking, New Orleans' Creole cuisine is adopted from the manor houses of Europe — influenced by African cooks who tossed in a few ingredients of their own.

At Bayou Grille, the Creole étouffées are simmered slowly until they're filled with a flavor-laden amalgam of complex herby notes and smoky chile accents. You can order them with chicken or shrimp, but it's the crawfish version, crammed with sweet, meaty little tails and blanketed with a peppery, creamy, roux-based sauce, that makes it the glitterati of this Creole kitchen. Taste it alone and you get the full blast of flavors. Spoon some over the accompanying rice and the layers of spicing hit your palate in slow, magically changing waves. Read more here:

Photo: Crawfish étouffée . Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times