Number 38: Broken Record's Crawfish Grits

Gil Riego Jr.
Broken Record's crawfish grits.
SFoodie's countdown of our favorite 50 things to eat and drink, 2012 edition

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On New Year's Eve of 1973, the Allman Brothers put on a legendary, marathon show at the Cow Palace. Nearly four decades later, up Geneva at The Broken Record, Georgian Shane LaValley creates something just as unapologetically Southern and perhaps even more epic: his crawfish grits. LaValley's recipe has been passed down and tinkered with by many generations of his restaurant family. "I've been making these grits my whole life," he boasts with the slightest twang.

Before digging in, stick your nose right into the bowl and inhale the lingering perfume of homemade shrimp stock and Cajun seasoning. Load up a spoon with velvety, Cheddar-flecked grits, crispy bacon threads, and plump, nickel-sized crawfish, proudly dubbed "Low Country lobster" on the menu. A concentrated hit of corn gives way to the smokiness of the bacon and then finally the slight pungency of the moist crawfish, seemingly prevalent in every bite. Leftover is a pool of fiery broth, more than worthy of some offensively loud slurping.


Yes, the Broken Record's back room lacks charm, and outside, the Crocker-Amazon district's streets are cold and gritty. It's all easily forgotten though while indulging in LaValley's grits. You'll be transported to some rundown roadside stand in Macon with Gregg, Dickie, and the boys chowing down alongside.

The Broken Record, 1166 Geneva Avenue (at Edinburgh), 963-1713

Other favorites in this series:
39: Cebiche mixto from La Mar 
40: Nutella-hazelnut hand pie from Black Jet Baking Co.
41: Fifth Floor's burger
42: Perbacco's agnolotti dal plin
43: Iced coffee from Sightglass
44: Cypress Grove's Purple Haze Chevre
45: Lechon from Tastebuds Cuisine
46: Duck with beets from AQ
47: Tai nigiri at ICHI Sushi
48: Fish with explosive chiles from Spices! 
49: Baker & Banker Bakery's blueberry cream cheese muffin
50: Kufta tajine from Cafe Zitouna

Follow Alex Hochman at @urbanstomach
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Broken Record

1166 Geneva, San Francisco, CA

Category: Music

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