New Orleans Eats: Domilise’s
As my friend navigated her car down the narrow residential streets, I expressed my concern. Are you sure there’s a restaurant around here? She reassured me as she pulled over and parked in what could only be described as ‘part of someone’s side yard’ and ushered me towards a building sporting a (poorly) hand-painted sign. I’m glad she was paying more attention to where she was going than to me, because I’m confident that the look on my face was not of joy or enthusiasm–or even veiled dismay. It was definitely more ‘outright dismay’.
Of course, had I done my New Orleans dining homework, I would have been more excited than apprehensive. Because since visiting Domilise’s, I’ve seen it featured on various food and travel channel related specials, including a Food Wars episode that made me say ‘I sat right there!’ several times. While I don’t remember who won that episode of Food Wars–Domilise’s or Parkway Bakery–I know who should have won: Domilise’s (and I think they did, because my memory of that episode does not have any indignant feelings attached to it). The sandwiches were amazing.
The first thing you won’t notice about this place is that it has a slop sink in the corner. You won’t notice this until you are halfway through your sandwich and have sauce and gravy running down your arms. At that point you will look up and think hey–a slop sink in the middle of the dining area. What a great idea! My friend ordered for us–thankfully–and she’s such a great friend that she ordered two awesome options, each cut in two so that we could share (I love this friend. Her name is Heather. I think I talk about her a lot on this blog–like here, for example.) We shared a fried oyster po boy and a roast beef po boy.
I was not thrilled with the choice of roast beef. I’m not a huge roast beef fan. I’m also from the land of the Philadelphia cheesesteak, so any thin-red-meat sandwich has a lot to live up to.
The roast beef po boy was, hands down, the best sandwich I’ve ever had. Sometimes, late at night, I think about that sandwich. Seriously. You think I’m kidding. I’m not.
It was fully ‘dressed’, whatever that means–though I think it involved some combination of mustard, mayo, and gravy. Let’s just say that the meat-to-condiment ratio was dead on–maybe 60/40. I’m a fan of condiments, so this pleased me. And you wouldn’t think that gravy and mustard and mayo would go together. But that’s just because you’ve never had them on the right bread. This bread did not act like a sponge, nor did it reject the moisture of the condiments. It hugged them gently. Really, if you think I’m talking about this sandwich in a sexual way–you’re right. I am. That’s how good it was.
The oyster po boy was good I guess. I appreciated the hot sauce, and the breading on the oysters was perfect. Sometimes a sandwich–made of bread–filled with breaded anything can be, well, over-bready. This was not. And if it had been the only thing I had to eat, it would have been perfection. But sadly, like the still-hot girl out for the night with her supermodel friend, it paled in comparison to the roast beef po boy.
Are you getting that I enjoyed my lunch? Because I really, really did. I have been pricing flights back to New Orleans, and I’d say that roast beef po boy is maybe 15% of the reason why. And that’s a really big percentage given how much I loved the city itself.
The thing that stinks about Domilise’s is that it is nowhere near anywhere most tourists visit. Though that might also be the best thing about it. But trust me–a visit to this place is worth the cost of a rental car, a taxi, or even the inconvenience of a public bus and a fairly long walk. I’d include directions here at the bottom of this post, but to be honest, I have no idea how to get there. I only know that it is in some little neighborhood nestled somewhere between the zoo, the French Quarter, and heaven.