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Sassafras
3667 India Street, Mission Hills
619-295-4745

This restaurant gains its moniker from ground sassafras, the primary seasoning in gumbo filé. Chef-owner, Andre Bellard, is a native son of Lafayette, Louisiana, and knows that flavor well. His Cajun-style gumbo is deep, rich, and authentic, his oysters Bienville elegant. And on Wednesday nights, he hosts a crawfish boil served on the heated patio, with freshly shipped live mudbugs from Louisiana, flavored by a house-made savory spice mixture and keeping company with potato, corn, and powerful house-made Cajun andouille sausage smoked right on the premises. You know this is a high-class joint because you get about 1-1/2 pounds heaped onto a big oval dinner plate (not a steel cafeteria tray with sheets of newspaper on the table). Alongside there's a tasty rémoulade for dipping and a plastic bib -- use of either is optional.

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