Cajun restaurant offers sandwiches, seafood boils
The Santa Clara
May 18, 2017
Named after the iconic Louisiana sandwich, Poorboy’s Cajun Kitchen has spent its first year of business developing a reputation among locals looking for their Southern fix. Having recently tasted their food myself, I can happily say it’s a great spot for down-home, Louisiana cooking.
The restaurant may not look like much sitting on the corner of Homestead and Layton, but Poorboy’s interior is smooth, sleek and spotless—with red-orange walls and their old-timey logo proudly painted above the open kitchen. A handful of televisions adorn the walls and suggest—along with their amazing happy hour deals—that this is a great place to come watch a game.
From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, Poorboy’s happy hour offers two dollars off beer, wine and sake, as well as three dollars off all po’boys. Not to mention their five dollar deals, which include one’s choice of poorboy chowder, popcorn chicken, mini corn dogs or garlic noodles. For those looking to unwind after a stressful workday, there may not be a better list of deals in town.
During my culinary undertaking, I indulged in two of the restaurant’s most popular po’boys—jumbo prawn and pulled pork. The jumbo prawn po’boy came on a 10-inch baguette with lettuce, tomato and a side of remoulade (basically a spicy tartar sauce). The prawns were plump and lightly breaded—which allowed the integrity of the seafood to shine. Additionally, the baguette—which veered closer to soft ciabatta than a crusty French baguette—was the perfect vessel to house the seafood and veggies. Overall, it’s a well-executed, if traditional, po’boy. My one gripe would be the lack of seafood comparative to a po’boy you would get in New Orleans. But, given the abundance of Gulf shrimp down there compared to here, you can’t really complain.
The pulled pork also came on a 10-inch baguette, but was topped with creamy coleslaw instead of lettuce and tomatoes. Pulled pork and coleslaw is the peanut butter and jelly of the South, and Poorboy’s version of the sandwich was incredible. The pork was juicy but not soggy and spicy but not over-seasoned. Likewise, the coleslaw was thoroughly dressed, yet still crispy. For $11.95, it’s an honest deal.
In addition to the po’boys, I also sampled another traditional Cajun dish: jambalaya. Complete with large pieces of crawfish, andouille sausage, tomatoes and green peppers, the rice dish tested my palate with its spiciness. Though a tad under-salted, Poorboy’s jambalaya was a worthy tribute to the dish.
I also tried the fried seafood basket, which included catfish, shrimp, oysters and a pile of french fries. Similar to the jumbo prawns, all of the seafood in the basket was lightly breaded, and launched to new, flavorful heights when dipped into the remoulade and housemade cajun ketchup. The basket is a perfect item for people who aren’t the biggest fans of fishy flavor.
Another fry basket I sampled was the bacon chowder fries. The fries are sprinkled with bacon, clams and provolone and cheddar cheeses, then covered with a ladle of corn chowder. It’s unquestionably a knife-and-fork job and requires an iron gut to digest, but holy hell. It’s one of the most inventive, decadent bar foods I’ve ever tried. Starch and dairy have never been so happily (and overwhelmingly) coupled together.
For dessert, Poorboy’s only offers one item: deep fried cheesecake. The dish comes with heaping dollops of whipped cream and is smothered with raspberry syrup—though it is surprisingly not cloyingly sweet. What more can I say? You feel like you’re at a state fair.
Though I was not able to sample them, seafood boils—I’m told—are a major reason why people come to Poorboy’s. Groups of diners will split pounds of seafood, sausage and corn that are slow-boiled in a buttery, spicy pot of water. Nearby customers devour the seafood boils by hand with gusto and glee, confidently protected by their “Grab Some Crab” bibs. If you don’t mind a mess, the seafood boils look to be worth a try.
Fans of butter and breadcrumbs be advised: Poorboy’s Cajun Kitchen does Southern food right—and in a somewhat upscale fashion, no less. Despite the humble name, Poorboy’s will leave you, and your stomach, feeling like royalty.
Contact Jimmy Flynn at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.