With Poor Boys Like These, Who Needs Cheeseburgers?

The oyster poor boy at BB's Cajun Cafe is right on the money. And that's not an easy thing to accomplish. To make a first class oyster poor boy, the cook needs to start with large oysters and batter them lightly--no gritty cornmeal please. Then he needs to leave the oysters in the fryer long enough to get cooked, but not so long that they get dried out. Sounds easy, right? So how come every oyster poor boy in town tastes like it's been stuffed with ping pong balls? (Probably because so many people freak out over properly cooked oysters.)

At the late great Original New Orleans Poor Boys on Main Street, they used to ask you if you wanted your oysters wet or dry when you ordered an oyster poor boy. That's one way around the problem. The other approach is to just do it right. At BB's Cajun Cafe, the gooey cooked oysters burst when you bite them and meld into the lettuce, tomato and dressing to form a luscious wet sandwich filling. And the roll is just the right size for a proper bread to filling ratio. I got a half an oyster poor boy with a cup of shrimp gumbo for lunch and dumped Crystal hot sauce all over both of them. What a lunch.

But my dining companion did even better...

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He ordered a half a roast beef poor boy with extra gravy on the side. The roast beef poor boy at BB's Cajun Cafe comes with slices of beef that are heated in the restaurant's glorious dark brown gravy and served on a roll with lettuce, tomato and chipotle mayo sauce. It's easily the best Cajun roast beef sandwich in the city. (Not to be confused with a deli-style roast beef sandwich or a hot roast beef sandwich au jus.) I tried a bite of the sandwich dipped in the dark meaty gravy and muttered in awe.

Do yourself a favor. Order one of the poor boys at BB's--not the cheeseburger.

-Robb Walsh

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