Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Grocery

Hidden behind the oaks on St. Charles, The Grocery has been pressing and turning out delicious po-boys and sandwiches since before ya Mama 'n 'dem had to remodel. Open only for lunch, during the school year the Grocery is oft filled with high school girls who have either figured out how to sneak off campus or have some liberal lunch attendance policy. In the summer, the crowds die down but just a bit, as the location is an easy drive from the CBD for a sandwich, bag of Zapp's, and a cold drink.

Procedure at The Grocery can be a little confusing, so allow us to walk you through:
  1. Peruse the menu written on chalkboards hung high above the partition separating the kitchen from the dining room.
  2. Place your order at the counter and give your name.
  3. Grab your choice of beverage from the cooler and bag of chips from the rack.
  4. Wait for your name to be called. If a seat is available, take it.
  5. When your name is called, pickup your food at the counter and pay your tab.

The menu lists numerous po-boys and pressed sandwiches, most filled with deli-style meats. Save for fried seafood, the usual list of po-boys is all here, with a more than respectable roast beef and gravy. The Grocery will even press a po-boy, but somehow this just doesn't seem right on certain sandwiches. Ham and cheese, yes. The melted cheese creates an adhesive layer to lock in all the ingredients. But on roast beef this method causes the unsloppiness of the noble Leidenheimer bread.

But there is no better pressed sandwich then The Cuban (immediately above), which is localized with a generous slathering of creole mustard. On the other hand, the Milan Special fails at disproving the theory that a roast beef sandwich is worth eating either without gravy or on wheat bread. If you are venturing outside of the hot, crusty confines of french bread, then look no further than the Reuben.

Potato salad is a cold, creamier version of mashed potatoes, and the cole slaw does nothing more than round out the meal. Instead, choose from the wide range of Zapp's lined up on the chip rack. Desserts are limited to chewy brownies and red velvet cupcakes, both made by Cake Cafe. You will also notice the music in The Grocery has a much more edgy ring to it. Maybe that is how he gets the kids and keeps the adults.

The Rankings

Food - Par. The pressed sandwiches are the heavy draw at The Grocery, and the kitchen succeeds in delivering a crunchy exterior without the slight bit of greasiness. Po-boys ranks a few notches below the specialists around town. The specialty sandwiches are well executed, but you could probably replicate most at home with a bit of time and a panini press.

Wine/Bar/Service - Par. The guy taking your order has an upbeat and witty demeanor which initiates back-and-forth banter with the customers. The dining room has enough seating for about 25, and that can cause patrons to become territorial and a bit agitated during the lunch rush. Although the dining room has no bar, there is something rewardingly libertarian about pulling your own cold beer from the fridge.

Overall - Par. The Grocery will probably not create memories or satisfy a major craving, but it will deliver a good sandwich at a solid value.


Jerry said...

Was in New Orleans in early March, jumped off the St. Charles street car for an Abita @ the Grocery on the way to Pascal's Manale for BBQ shrimp. Nice place!

jshushan said...

I agree about the Cuban. The Gumbo is pretty good also. I skip the chips and have that with my sandwich instead.