Tucked on a corner in Eagle Rock, across a side street from a pink diner with its own towering billboard, the brown bungalow doesn't look like much. Its roof is beginning to tatter, there's nearly no parking, and the few tables outside are made from old doors painted and put on their sides in one last stop before the scrap yard. (Actually a nice, colorful touch.)
Larkin's, which bills itself as “a contemporary soul food joint,” is like visiting Grandma's house, with its scuffed wood floors and cozy rooms and big windows, and its smells of cornbread and frying chicken. (OK, my Southern grandma's house was small and made of concrete block, but the smells were the same.) But the menu is way more inventive than Granny's pan-fried chicken and potatoes.
A fried okra and heirloom tomato salad mixes baby greens, warmed slabs of red tomatoes and rounds of fried okra with balsamic vinaigrette. The breading on the okra was crisp, nicely done — so much so that I ordered the fried okra as a side on a subsequent visit. The Jambalaya was full of rich, tomatoey flavor, its spice pouring over perfectly cooked rice. At home, we fought over the leftovers.