by Ian McNulty
The short menu at Killer Po-boys might, day to day, feature shrimp, sausage, catfish and beef. That seems normal enough for a po-boy shop, except in the case of this new French Quarter eatery the sausage is Moroccan-spiced lamb, the shrimp carries 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, plantain and pickled okra.
Such is the globetrotting sandwich fare being served by Cam Boudreaux and April Bellow, a couple who started Killer Po-boys this spring. The setting is a bit unorthodox too. Killer Po-boys took over the small tavern kitchen tucked away in the rear of Erin Rose. This postage-stamp-sized Irish pub is just steps off Bourbon Street, though its vibe, clientele and bar pricing make it a world away from the nearby tourists traps.
Killer Po-boys 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 Green Goddess, working with chef Chris DeBarr there until earlier this year (DeBarr has since departed the Green Goddess and has a new restaurant, Serendipity, slated to open shortly in Mid-City).
“We wanted to do fun food that was still chef driven,” says Bourdreaux. “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 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 chèvre sandwich with caper basil pesto and olive salad and another with roasted, curried vegetables, tamarind chutney and ginger lime pickles. There’s also a grilled cheese made with sharp Irish cheddar and butter infused with Jameson Irish whiskey. For sides, you can get a tomato and cucumber salad and a spicy, refreshing watermelon salad dressed with Thai basil and hot chiles. For daily specials (of which the catfish and the tongue po-boys described above are examples), see the shop’s Facebook page.
Remember that Killer Po-boys is in a bar, which means video poker, cigarettes and a 21-or-over age requirement. They don’t deliver but do offer take-out. Boudreaux says in the future they hope to expand their days of service, add delivery and start catering lunches for the CBD crowd and others.
For now, Killer Po-boys serves Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. It’s cash only.
811 Conti St., 252-6745