Reel in wonderful Southern seafood at T & C’s Tackle Box in Van Nuys – Daily News

T & C’s Tackle Box Southern Seafood is a household affair — and never simply because it’s the creation of cousins Christopher David and Trevor Hairston.

It’s a household affair as a result of, by the point you’ve completed putting your order, you’ll really feel like a member of the household. They take nice pleasure within the cooking — which effectively deserves that pleasure. You’ll need to chat concerning the relative flavors of cod versus whiting, tilapia versus crimson snapper — and marvel why it’s that catfish, which is so tasty, will get so little respect out of the Deep South. Well, the fellows are completely happy to speak.

They benefit from the strategy of cooking for hungry prospects. They loved it after they began with a meals truck. And they take pleasure in it now that they’ve received a department down in Bellflower, and this one, in Van Nuys, with its vibrant brand, which appears to glow even in the course of the day. The cousins know tips on how to make a (principally) takeout spot that’s a enjoyable vacation spot.

This is the very definition of a neighborhood restaurant, although not in a neighborhood the place “gourmand po’boys” are straightforward to return by — in a metropolis the place po’boys are recognized, however not effectively. And their seasoned fries are fairly fantastic too. This is the form of chow that, after I took it dwelling to my eternally weight-reduction plan spouse, the deep-fried fish vanished like a magic act. One chunk, and also you’ve received to have extra!

The po’boy is to New Orleans what the Philly cheesesteak is to the City of Brotherly Love, the corned beef on rye is to New York, the outsized sub sandwich is to Chicago — it defines town. (Here in LA, it must be the burrito. Unless it’s the taco!)

The po’boy was first served at a neighborhood eatery in N’awlins in 1929 — and it’s been a cultural icon ever since. It’s a culinary traditional with a large assortment of variations. It could be crammed with roast beef, or fried seafood like shrimp, crawfish, catfish, oysters and crab. And, after all, rooster. Also, rabbit, duck, sausage — and alligator.

If something, a po’boy is as a lot delineated by the bread on which it’s served – a crispy, crusted French bread with a fluffy middle. The toppings are easy, most frequently lettuce, tomato, pickled mayonnaise.

The Oak Street Po’boy Festival is held yearly in November, and it confronts you with this query: How many po’boys are you able to eat…and nonetheless need extra? The reply is…many!

At the Van Nuys location, the alternatives are many, if not encyclopedic — which is to say, no alligator. But there’s a selection of tilapia, rooster, shrimp, catfish, crimson snapper, spicy Buffalo shrimp, spicy Buffalo rooster, whiting, cod and for individuals who are vegetarians (I assume), zucchini. They come, principally, with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, American cheese — and within the case of the Buffalo rooster, with blue cheese, a really various ingredient for such a down-home dish. For $4 further, you’ll be able to add superb fries, and a drink.

But what actually impresses me is the crust, a thick layer of eminently crispy batter, fantastically finished, leaving the fish inside admirably tender. Unlike so many battered meals, and fish specifically, this seafood retains its integrity. The cousins know what they’re doing — particularly the chef half, Trevor Hairston.

It’s a crunchy, seasoned cornmeal batter. And it’s additionally discovered within the “Tackle Boxes” — the combo packages, filled with most (if not all) the po’boy choices, but in addition with a selection of tasty sides, and intense sauces. The sides comply with within the footsteps of the fish and rooster — fried zucchini, fried okra, extra fries, Cajun corn. The sauces embody chili lime and pepper ranch.

And if you wish to ship your tastebuds operating amuck, attempt the fries topped with shrimp and an Italian Alfredo sauce. There’s a shrimp Caesar salad and a catfish Caesar salad. A salmon Caesar salad too. There are shrimp & grits. If you’re heading for the Bellflower department, there’s a waffle plate with rooster and shrimp.

At each branches, there are desserts — 7-Up Cake and Chocolate Overload Cake. The first is made with, you already know, 7-Up. The second with chocolate pudding and chocolate chips. Excess? Of course. In for a penny, in for a pound. And superb after a feed of po’boys.

The value could also be low, however the style is wealthy. For a grab-and-go joint in a Kester Avenue mini-mall, Tackle Box tackles some bold dinners. And lands all of them.

Merrill Shindler is a Los Angeles-based freelance dining critic. Email [email protected]

T & C’s Tackle Box Southern Seafood

  • Rating: 3 stars
  • Address: 7141 Kester Ave., Van Nuys
  • Information: 818-809-2407;
  • Cuisine: Southern seafood…and extra
  • When: Lunch and dinner, Monday by means of Saturday
  • Details: Soft drinks; no reservations
  • Prices: About $15 per particular person
  • Suggested dishes: 10 Po’Boy Sandwiches ($10-$14), 9 Tackle Boxes ($10-$26), Shrimp Alfredo Fries ($13), Shrimp Caesar Salad ($14), Catfish Caesar Salad ($14), Salmon Caesar Salad ($16), Caesar Salad ($10), Shrimp & Grits ($14), Salmon Plate ($16), 7 Sides ($2.50-$5), 5 Sauces (50 cents)
  • Cards: MC, V
  • What the celebrities imply: 4 (World class! Worth a visit from anyplace!), 3 (Most glorious, even distinctive. Worth a visit from anyplace in Southern California.), 2 (A great place to go for a meal. Worth a visit from anyplace within the neighborhood.) 1 (If you’re hungry, and it’s close by, however don’t get caught in visitors going.) 0 (Honestly, not value writing about.)

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