Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mahony's

Mahony's was the subject of our first Dining Out article in OffBeat, way back in September 2008. Chef Ben Wicks took his years of experience in fine dining and applied those techniques and loyalty to fine ingredient  to this poor man's staple. Two years later, this tribute to the New Orleans neighborhood po-boy shop is still creating waves with diners by making everything from scratch and taking its sweet time to do so.

No visit to Mahony's is complete without an order of onion rings, which are thinly shaved, crisp, and arrive sprinkled with coare salt. I'm ready to proclaim that these are better than the ones at Charlie's Steakhouse. The small order is an overflowing basket big enough to be shared among a table of 4 people, and you are advised to request that the rings be served immediately so that you have something to snack on while you wait for your po-boys.

And wait you will. The most common complaint that I hear about Mahony's is that the kitchen moves painstakingly slow. When it's crowded - which is usually the case every Saturday during lunch - a 30 minute wait from ordering to eating is not uncommon. I have heard/read multiple reports of 45 minute waits and surly service but have never personally experienced either of those. So why does it take Mahony's 3 or 4 times longer to do what others around town can do in 10 minutes? Well, the party line is that they "make everything from scratch" and that takes time. "Cooked-to-order" is an attribute that we should applaud, but the wait can be frustrating when its unexpected. Regardless, if you're in a rush, this is probably not the spot for you.


The list of po-boys includes both the "Usual Suspects" and "Signature Specialties." Meatball Parmesan has slices of fresh mozzarella and a rustic tomato sauce that was a bit underseasoned for my tastes, but what the sandwich really needed was to be blasted in the oven so as to melt the cheese. Fried green tomatoes are thickly cut, crispy fried in cornmeal, and paired with large, perfectly grilled shrimp and a remoulade sauce which is all the dressing that is needed. At $10.25 for the 6" size, this is an expensive po-boy that proudly includes "fresh Louisiana shrimp right off the boat."

The classic roast beef may be the best. Cooked “pot roast” style with plenty of mire poix, the beef falls apart to shreds and chunks that bathe in thick gravy which tastes like it came from ya mama's slow cooker (but better).. Roast turkey is year-round Thanksgiving leftovers, and Chisesi's ham are sweetened with a root beer glaze. If you're in search of something a little more unconventional, look no further than the fried chicken livers and cole slaw combination, which is rich, delicious, and obviously not recommended for the health conscious. But who counts calories when eating po-boys?

True, the wait is longer and prices are higher than what we are accustom to when it comes to po-boys. But at least you know where your food is coming from. It's written on the sign and can be tasted in the food.

5 comments:

robert said...

I love those onion rings.

jshushan said...

I'd like to plug the turkey po-boy more than y'all did. It has redefined that sandwich. Fresh Turkey with turkey gravy. Also, the fries are house cut and good when they get it right, which is about 50/50.

Jonathan

Ned said...

I went to Mahony's on Saturday before heading to Henry's for the LSU game. I wanted to order a shrimp po-boy, but the options were $16 for "previously frozen" shrimp or $20+ for for "fresh gulf shrimp". I opted for the veal parmesan which was good but with the addition of a glass of NOLA blonde, my bill came out to $22! I'm sticking to parkway which I consider somewhat expensive but way cheaper than Mahony's.

Rene said...

Ned,

Your comment got me thinking. We all know that prices for most everything, especially dining out, have risen significantly. People on TV say it has to do with the price of tea in China, but I don't know what that means.

Here is my question, is the po boy limited by its name? In much the same way that people expect Mexican (or more accurately Tex-Mex) to be cheap, do we expect a po boy to always be an under $10 dining experience? Maybe it is because of the moniker, but prices for other local loved foods have gone up (think gumbo, turtle soup, shrimp remoulade, etc...) and I neither hear complaints about that nor complain myself.

Flodgates, open.

Ned said...

Valid point. Although, when the place advertises "Fresh Gulf Seafood" next to the entrance and then when you walk in, they offer you the choice of previously frozen shrimp at one price and fresh shrimp at another, I felt mislead. During my previous trip to Mahony's, I ordered a fried green tomato and shrimp remoulade po-boy. After I placed my order I was informed I would be charged an additional $2 seafood charge to an already expensive (post-spill) po-boy. Don't get me wrong, the po-boy was delicious, but was it worth $18? Probably not. Parkway Bakery charges $12 for their 12 inch before and after the spill. When I go out to eat a po-boy, I expect the po-boy its self to be under $15.