Much like muffalettas, po’ boys were something I’d heard of, and knew originated from New Orleans, but wasn’t really sure exactly what they were. Or why in the world they were called po’ boys. But while I was there, I damn sure wanted to try an authentic one.
Po’ boys are essentially sub-style sandwiches, usually made from crusty bread or soft baguettes and traditionally contain meat or seafood. For me, I only had one filling in mind and that was fried shrimp.
After a little preliminary research (as usual) I kept coming across the same name over and over again: Domilise’s. Supposedly known for having the best fried shrimp po’ boys in town, Domilise’s was also included in Bourdain’s “No Reservations” edition of New Orleans (although we didn’t know this before we got there and the lady making the sandwiches told us – she obviously assumed that was where we had discovered them).
We ordered one large fried shrimp po’ boy and one small “Bourdain special”, which is a fried shrimp po’ boy with all the usual fillings but with the addition of gravy and cheese. And ohmigod, it was the best thing I’ve ever tasted.
Crispy shrimp (and plenty of it), lettuce, mayonnaise, ketchup, gravy and cheese…I mean, what’s not to like in all of that? The textures were fantastic and the flavours were even better. For my first ever po’ boy experience it was certainly memorable. And a brilliant entry point into New Orleans cuisine.
If you didn’t know where Domilise’s was, you would probably miss it. Despite having been shown on TV, the place has continued to serve in its original premises, and doesn’t even have its own permanent sign, just a cardboard-and-marker one placed above the door. The day we were there, they even ran out of bread and had to close early; luckily for us we had got there just in time. There are a handful of tables inside and a small unassuming bar, where a friendly aging bartender will gladly serve you your local Abita beer.
All in all, it’s exactly what you would want from a local’s sandwich joint. Unaffected, friendly and serving up delicious food.
Oh, and if you’re curious as to why the sandwiches are called po’ boys, you can find the definition of the term here. Don’t say I don’t like to include you in my food education.
- Domilise’s Po Boy and Bar, 5240 Annunciation St, New Orleans, LA 70115, United States