Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Like any European cathedral of note, Parkway Bakery & Tavern is always undergoing renovations. Isaac blew through recently and bent portions of the sign on the Hagan St. side but left much of the building in tact. If you are from out of town, make sure you stand in line to order at the counter before fighting for a place to sit and waiting on your name to be called.
As Parkway is often crowded, grabbing a seat at the bar is the quicker, more civil way to eat. The bar is cozy, and has all the traditional trappings of a New Orleans corner bar. There is a poster of Tulane Stadium, a chalkboard of specials, and bric-a-brac no one can quit identify. A cross segment of civilization sits at the bar debating weighty topics such as sports and local based conspiracies.
I don't really care what kind of po boy you order, but you should order a beer to wash it down. Either a traditional root based one, or a more adult grain based varietal. The grain beer selection is better than your average po boy shop and showcases more than a few craft beers in cans.
On our most recent visit, we ordered a three po boys: roast beef, meatball, and patty hot sausage. Oysters are only available on Monday; and I've never been a huge fan of the batter on their fried shrimp, which I find too coarse. Of the three, the hot sausage was the standout carrying a fiery, crusty coaster of juicy sausage adorned with the trappings of a well-made po boy. Whether or not you believe in religion, their is something magical about the confluence of cold mayo, a pickle, and spicy, warm pork that can convince you there is a god.
Whoever is supplying them with meatballs is running a con. They were rubbery, industrial, and twice as large as they needed to be. Roast beef was stringy, bland, and dry. The dryness would appear to be impossible based on the fact that the moisture from the gravy had soaked through the bread. This is a neat party trick and perhaps it makes the sandwich more Naturally N'Awlins or some other T-shirt ready slogan. However, both the meatball and roast beef cease being a po boy and become a puddle of disintegrating bread, meaty detritus, and clumps of shredded lettuce. It quickly becomes impossible to get a bite incorporating all of the various elements of the po boy. The effect is a po boy deconstructed.
I want a po boy I can eat with my hands; not one that requires a fork.
Parkway Bakery & Tavern: Is It Worth It? Nope.
538 Hagan Ave.