Best Soul Food - 2012
R&R Soul Food
Located in a strip-mall storefront in Carson, R&R Soul Food announces its intentions to the world via a light-up sign in the window, which reads "Chitterling." This place is not messing around. Inside, turquoise walls are adorned with framed pictures of Afrocentric Christianity — the Black Last Supper, for instance. While many L.A. soul food spots serve from steam trays, cafeteria-style, R&R is a sit-down, table-service joint, and the food takes its time coming. It's worth the wait for fried-to-order chicken, its crispy, knobby skin tasting mainly of chicken rather than heavy breading. Fried pork chops are thin and delicious, a crunchy, mellow benediction to the gods of pig fat. Smothered chicken comes with a deep, glorious gravy, and oxtail takes that deep richness one step further. Sides are as satisfying as the proteins: The collard greens are funky and full of flavor, the black-eyed peas are smoky, the sweet potatoes are tooth-achingly sweet — as is proper for this genre. Even the corn muffins that come early to the table are hearty and cakey and exactly sweet enough. If you're game, come on Mondays for the neckbones. If you're brave, take them up on those chitterlings. 18427 S. Avalon Blvd., Carson. (310) 715-6716 (no website).