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NEIGHBORHOOD EATERY

Louisiana Treats

March 03, 1994|MICHAEL KRIKORIAN

That restaurant on Manchester Boulevard just before the San Diego Freeway may look like a Denny's, and a year ago it actually was a Denny's. But don't let that fool you. Today it's a welcoming Louisiana restaurant named Jonake's.

As you enter the reception area (decorated with prints of New Orleans), you'll see a casual dining area off to the left, with booths and counter seating that have the old coffee shop look. The main dining room, however, bears about as much resemblance to a Denny's as Louis Armstrong does to Lawrence Welk. Decorated with colorful Mardi Gras costumes, it features lacquered black chairs, white tablecloths, green carpeting and a profusion of plants. A French Quarter-style wrought iron railing, sparkling with tiny white lights, runs sleekly down the middle.

At lunch, the po' boy sandwiches are a big seller. These New Orleans specialties resemble submarine sandwiches but instead of cold cuts, you get a split French roll with lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise plus a filling such as salmon croquette ($7.95), fried catfish ($7.50), red snapper ($6.50) or fried oyster ($9.95).

Among non-sandwich items, a baked chicken breast ($7.95), coated with honey and pecans, is served with garlic bread and a choice of two of the following: green beans with yellow bell peppers, potato salad, cole slaw or steak fries. Chicken Marilyn ($7.95) is a breast sauteed in garlic sauce, served over pasta.

At dinner, that New Orleans classic red beans and rice is available with spicy sausage ($10.95), two grilled pork chops ($12.95) or fried catfish ($13.95), or simply as a side dish ($3.95).

A popular selection is the seafood jambalaya ($13.95): mounds of shrimp, crab, oysters and clams served over steamed rice in white cream sauce ($13.95). The crunchy Southern fried chicken ($10.95) features a large breast, thigh and drumstick. Lately, I've been trying to stay away from eating chicken skin, but when I finished the fried chicken here, all that was left was bones.

Jonake's is at 621 W. Manchester Blvd., Inglewood. (310) 412-1920. Open 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.

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