The changing short menu at Killer Poboys (811 Conti St., 252-6745; www.killerpoboys.com) might feature shrimp, sausage, catfish and beef. That seems normal enough for a po-boy shop, except at this new French Quarter eatery the sausage is Moroccan-spiced lamb, the shrimp is seasoned with coriander and lime, the catfish is local, wild-caught and piled with soy-cured green beans and Korean-style eggplant, and the beef is actually tongue finished with crema, plantains and pickled okra.
Such is the globetrotting sandwich fare being served by Camille Boudreaux and April Bellow, the couple who started Killer Poboys this spring. The setting also is a bit unorthodox. Killer Poboys took over the small tavern kitchen tucked away in the rear of the Erin Rose (811 Conti St., 523-8619; www.erinrosebar.com). This small Irish pub is just steps off Bourbon Street, though its vibe, clientele and bar pricing make it a world away from the nearby tourist traps.
Killer Poboys is the first project from Boudreaux and Bellow, two New Orleans natives with plenty of fine-dining credentials. They met while working in the kitchen at Arnaud's Restaurant, where Bellow had been sous chef. Boudreaux later became sous chef at the Green Goddess, working with chef Chris DeBarr until earlier this year (DeBarr has since departed the Green Goddess and has a new restaurant, Serendipity, slated to open soon in Mid-City).
"We wanted to do fun food that was still chef-driven," Bourdreaux says. "If you open a po-boy shop you need to have shredded lettuce and out-of-season tomatoes, and we didn't want to do all that."
It's a tiny operation, with one chef per shift working in the bar's tight galley kitchen. Still, produce comes from local suppliers including Hollygrove Market & Farm (www.hollygrovemarket.com) and all manner of aiolis are crafted from a handmade "mother mayo." The bread is the crusty, light-crumb banh mi-style loaf of Vietnamese bakery fame.
For one po-boy, they braise pork with chipotle peppers and Old New Orleans Rum. There are some meatless po-boys, like a Creole tomato and chevre sandwich with caper-basil pesto and olive salad. There's also a grilled cheese sandwich made with sharp Irish cheddar and butter infused with Jameson Irish whiskey. For sides, diners can get a tomato and cucumber salad or a refreshing and spicy watermelon salad dressed with Thai basil and hot chilis. For daily specials (the catfish and the tongue po-boys described above are examples), visit the shop's Facebook page.
Killer Poboys is in a bar with video poker machines, cigarettes and a 21-or-older age requirement. Killer Poboys serves Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. It accepts cash only.