SPICY JAMBALAYA

The Baltimore Sun

For us, the best jambalaya brings together tender chicken, spicy sausage, vegetables, rice and tomato sauce to make a hearty meal. We tried four jambalayas from area restaurants. Here are the results.

BEST BITE

>>>Clarence's Taste of New Orleans

2131 Old Edgewood Road, Edgewood -- 410-612-0700

Hours --11 a.m.-11 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-midnight Fridays; 4 p.m.-midnight Saturdays; 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Sundays

Restaurant's estimate --10 minutes

Ready in --5 minutes

Everything clicked with this order, $12.55. Expertly seasoned tomato sauce covered rice and tender chicken and andouille sausage. It was a spicy, delicious rendition of the Cajun dish.

BEST BARGAIN

>>>Mother's Federal Hill Grille

1113 S. Charles St., Baltimore -- 410-244-8686

Hours --11 a.m.-11 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturdays; 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays

Restaurant's estimate --15 minutes

Ready in --14 minutes

Heavy on meat and light on rice, this jambalaya, $15.70, was by far the most filling. Thin strips of carrot and zucchini added extra color and flavor to the mix. It had plenty of shrimp, chicken and sausage, which formed a ring around an island of rice in the foam container.

ALSO TASTED

>>>Bayou Cafe

8133 Honeygo Blvd., White Marsh -- 410-931-2583

Hours --11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays

Restaurant's estimate --10-15 minutes

Ready in --10 minutes

Portion-wise, this order, $15.73, beat out the other three. But bigger didn't mean better - the jambalaya tasted dull and barely seasoned.

>>>Nick's Fish House

36 E. Cross St., Baltimore -- 410-347-4123

Hours --11 a.m.--10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays

Restaurant's estimate --15-20 minutes

Ready in --18 minutes

We were let down by this order, $18.85. It cost the most and had the smallest amount of jambalaya. Bland tomato sauce covered about a dozen shrimp and rice. It came with two sides of sliced, steamed zucchini.

Know of a good carryout place? Let us hear about it. Write to sam.sessa@baltsun.com.

The Takeout column in the Taste section yesterday included an incorrect address for Nick's Fish House. The restaurant is at 2600 Insulator Drive, Baltimore.The Sun regrets the errors.
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