Must-Try

Where to Find Amazing Po' Boys Around LA

By Lesley Balla  |  February 4, 2016
Credit: Lesley Balla

If you can't make it to Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest, but still crave the delicacies of New Orleans, there are a number of great po' boys to find right in LA. The classic sub/hoagie/grinder (whatever you want to call it) that’s synonymous with the Crescent City isn't as easy to make as it looks. The staple has to have a few things, from the right bread to the correct fillings and toppings, and especially the mayo. Don't bother getting one without it. Of course, even unique takes on a proper po' boy are still delicious, and authentic or not, they're popping up on menus all over town these days. From traditional foot-long behemoths to those with chef-driven twists or fancy little sliders, here are eight to try around LA right now. 

The Little Jewel of New Orleans: When the craving for a real po' boy strikes, this cafe and marketplace in the heart of Chinatown is about as close to NOLA as you can get in LA. Chef and owner Marcus Christiana-Beniger gets bread from the New Orleans Leidenheimer​ Baking Co. flown in daily, which makes all the difference (along with the Blue Plate mayo, lettuce and pickles). While some are stuffed with slow-roasted roast beef, spicy sausage, meatballs, smoked pork and even French fries (for the vegetarians) — there are almost 20 to choose from — a po' boy with fried seafood is the traditional way to go. The shrimp here are incredibly tasty, cornmeal-crusted with some kick and fried until just tender. One easily feeds two, but with all the fixings, it's so good, you may not give up that other half.

photoname

Harold & Belle's: The Jefferson Park grande dame of Cajun and Creole cuisine is back! Opening after its year-long renovation for Fat Tuesday (Feb. 9), the classics are all there, including the torpedo rolls stuffed with whatever your heart desires, from spicy hot links to catfish, Gulf oysters and cornmeal-fried shrimp. Find the sandwiches on the dinner menu.

Preux & Proper: The New Orleans spirit is alive and well in the Fashion District at this French Quarter-inspired restaurant and bar. From the frozen daiquiri machines downstairs to the menu from chef Michael Ruiz, who adds definitive LA flair to dishes like the fried oyster po' boy. His take: plump cornmeal-fried oysters stuffed into a crispy baguette with tomato, arugula and tartar sauce.

photoname

Commissary: Roy Choi’s version features tempura-fried rock shrimp, which makes it a bit puffier, with lettuce, celery, pickled onions and spicy mayo on a soft French roll. It’s especially fitting for a lunchtime sandwich in the greenhouse on top of Koreatown’s Line Hotel.

Orleans & York: There are several locations around town, but the Downtown LA outpost is popular with the Historic Core crowd. The po' boys are stellar here, filled with things like golden fried shrimp, oysters, catfish or salmon. The belly-bomb is definitely Big Mo's Favorite, which comes with fried shrimp and hot links, along with the requisite mayo, lettuce and tomato. It's a sandwich that beckons to be shared.

The Little Easy: Complete with a fountain and wrought-iron lined windows — all inside the dining room deep within the Alexandria Hotel — this NOLA-inspired haunt offers some of the basics, like Sazeracs, debris fries and gumbo. Po' boys are in slider form here, made with blackened or fried shrimp or catfish or braised brisket.

photoname

L&E Oyster Bar: Oyster is the only choice you get at the Silver Lake oyster house. Chef Spencer Bezaire created a “knife and fork” (meaning: open-faced) fried oyster po' boy, with a twist on toppings including fennel, chicory, sweet peppers and gribiche.

Fishing With Dynamite: The shrimp po' boy at David LeFevre's Manhattan Beach seafood spot is loaded with lightly fried shrimp and Cajun-spiced rémoulade, and comes with housemade Weiser potato chips.