Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Getting Dressed (Po' Boys) at Domilise's
My favorite po' boys in the City may be found at Domilise's.
Although Domilise's po' boys are delicious enough alone to attract the masses, you will find that the most potent reason to go to Domilise's is for Dot Domilise, the beloved proprietor of Domilise's. If you greet her with a genuine smile and pleasant conversation, she may invite you into her nearby home to meet her family dog, and share with you stories about her grandchildren and the Manning brothers (whose many pictures--from childhood to adulthood to the NFL--are carefully hung upon the restaurant walls). Dot's generosity abounds, and she epitomizes Southern charm, grace, and kindness. However, Dot has encountered her share of struggles since Hurricane Katrina. Although her sandwich shop is still standing, Dot had to rebuild her restaurant, replacing costly refrigeration equipment and refurbishing other damaged areas of her business. It is evident that New Orleans has not fully recovered from Hurricane Katrina, however, it is heartening to see how Domilise's bounced back as far as it could, and Dot has retained her loyal clientele and managed to keep her business bustling, even despite the rising costs of food and fuel.
As for Domilise's sandwiches, it is not hard to see why Dot's customers are so loyal. The large "half & half" (for any 1-2 combo of fried oysters, shrimp, or catfish) is the most delicious option. The freshness at Domilise's is palpable. The servers do not start your sandwich until you order. Therefore, you can watch first hand as the gurgling cascade of bubbles bristle and rise to the surface when your battered seafood is dropped in stainless steel frying baskets into hot oil. Po' boys at Domilise's are always assembled as you wait.
Every po' boy at Domilise's starts with torpedo-sized loaf of fresh French bread. If you order the oyster and catfish half and half, with each bite of your po' boy, you will inevitably been greeted with a piercing crunch, and then the chewy tug of the yeasty French bread against your tightened jaws. Each green-tinged oyster is gummy, perfectly briny with the saltiness of the sea, and mouthwateringly savory. The tender, pristine flakes of white catfish are so delicate and fresh, they exude a soft fishy sweetness with each bite.
Peer into the depths of yo' po' boy sandwich, and notice the shimmering, glistening specks of "dressed" goodness, or hot sauce and mayonnaise, peeking underneath the heavy bread roof and through the rugged terrain of shredded lettuce, pickles, and golden-fried oyster nuggets and catfish filets. Now, that, my folks, is a sandwich to write home about.
Ah, heaven. I hope you enjoyed my description of my po' boy, as much as I enjoyed eating it!