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Restaurant | IN THE MOOD


November 12, 1998

The classic treatment for catfish is to bread it in seasoned cornmeal (cayenne pepper brings out its sweetness) and deep-fry. But you can also find it grilled, blackened, slipped into sandwiches--and sizzling!

* Chan Darette: There's an entire menu section here entitled "Everybody Loves Our Catfish." You'll find deep-fried catfish with Thai salsa and soy sauce, catfish "cha cha" (deep-fried filets sauteed with red curry cream sauce) and a catfish filet with a colorful Thai chile sauce. (Catfish dishes, $10.95 to $18.95.) Chan Darette, 13490 Maxella Ave., Marina del Rey, (310) 301-1004.

* Chinois on Main: The most popular dish at Wolfgang Puck's Franco-Asian restaurant may well be the sizzling whole catfish, stuffed with ginger and served with ponzu sauce. (Catfish, $23.) Chinois on Main, 2709 Main St., Santa Monica (310) 392-9025.

* The Gumbo Pot: We recommend the juicy catfish po'boy, filled with a crunchy fried filet, tomato, lettuce--and the thinnest slivers of fresh lemon. There's also a catfish plate, served with your choice of side salads or sweet potato chips and a good hunk of corn bread. (Catfish po'boy, $5.95; catfish plate, $6.95.) The Gumbo Pot, Farmers' Market, 6333 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, (213) 933-0358.

* Angelena's Soul Food: The fried catfish filet dinner at this tucked-away soul-food kitchen comes with a choice of two side dishes, rice with gravy and two corn muffins. Look for catfish on the lunch specials, too. (Catfish dinner, $11.99; lunch special, $7.99.) Angelena's Soul Food Kitchen, 4515 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Sherman Oaks, (818) 784-9343.

* M & M Cafe: You can order your catfish breaded in cornmeal and deep-fat fried or you can have it grilled. The dinner comes with three side choices like greens, black-eyed peas, macaroni and cheese, potato salad and rice and gravy. (Catfish dinner, $8.55.) M & M Cafe, 9506 S. Avalon Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 777-9250.

* Ragin' Cajun Cafe: Catfish is all over the menu here. You can have it fried as an appetizer; for dinner, you can have it grilled, fried or blackened, or grilled and topped with crawfish etouffee over rice. On Fridays, fried catfish and hush puppies are one of three lunch specials. (Catfish dinners, $9.95 to 11.95; Friday lunch special, $5.75.) Ragin' Cajun Cafe, 422 Pier Ave., Hermosa Beach, (310) 376-7878.

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