Hot Plate

When Is a Poor Boy Not a Poor Boy?: When it's a plate-swamping meal of sautéed jumbo shrimp, meaty strips of red and green peppers and mounds of caramelized onions, like the so-called Shrimp Po-Boy ($6.95) at Café Artiste [1601 West Main, (713)528-3704]. The two slabs of fluffy white French baguette seem like an afterthought, lost in the avalanche of spicy, peppery foods, smothered under melted Swiss cheese and awash with the cafe's trademark "black sauce," redolent of black pepper and Worcestershire. "Well, it's black, and it's sauce, and the rest is a secret," the counter man told me, grinning unhelpfully. Why, the alleged sandwich is even topped with giant slices of spicy grilled potatoes. Sure, it's a happy meal for a longshoreman. But is it a poor boy? No way!


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