A typical po-boy is built with bread, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickle and meat. After all, it was a sandwich designed for the working class in the late 1920s.
But the po-boys at Pop’s in Lafayette are more than meat, dressed.
How about two strips of buttermilk-fried catfish, pickled okra tartar sauce and blue cheese coleslaw? It’s called the Boudreaux ($7.50 for half; $10 for whole), and it’s my new favorite sandwich.
As you walk in, your eyes will enlarge looking at the menu. This being my second trip, I immediately plunged in head-first ordering the Surf & Turf ($8.50 for half; $13 for whole). This sandwich features debris-style roast beef, fried oysters, horseradish peppercorn sauce, lettuce and tomato.
Gluttonous? Yes, of course. But doesn’t it sound so much better than a ham and cheese on French? (That’s rhetorical.)
I know, I know. Part of me, too, says that po-boys shouldn’t be rocket science. But we all know the underwhelming feeling when we get a bad po-boy.
Pop’s is upping the po-boy game. Yes, it’s heavy. It’s gratuitous. But its greatness lies in the flavor combinations, which are unexpected home runs.
Another example of that combination is in the Banh Banh Shrimp ($7.75 for half, $11 for whole). You could call this a lighter choice, at least that’s what my friend was hoping. It’s loaded with grilled marinated shrimp, chili-garlic mayo, pickled carrots, cucumber and cilantro.
Like the other sandwiches I tried, the Banh Banh Shrimp didn’t skimp on the toppings. My friend later made a pun about how he hopes the restaurant doesn’t “bahn” him because he’ll come back and order it every time.
We added some house-cut fries ($4), a basket of thin-cut, salty potatoes, that kept us coming back between bites.
Spoiler alert, I had to walk off this meal.
But now for a little background: Pop’s Poboys is just getting started. Since debuting in April 2015, the young restaurant has made it on wild weekly specials such as the Cardiac Cajun — which comes with fried shrimp tossed in cane-pepper jelly topped with crawfish boiled sausage and pepper jack cheese — as well as consistency.
But before Pop’s, what was this place? An Italian joint for a few months. A nutritional place that offered vegan and gluten-free dishes for a few months.
The list goes on, but it doesn’t matter because now it’s another place you have to try in Lafayette.
There are many on that list, but Pop’s is quickly getting to the top.
Follow Matthew Sigur on Twitter, @MatthewSigur.