by Kat Robinson
There’s something about a Po’Boy that can’t quite be replicated outside of Louisiana. Some people have a problem with this. I have happened to be one of them… in the past. But if you want to take something called a Po’Boy and create a very good sandwich, well, I can’t have any sort of problem with that. The folks at Gabe’s Grill in Bryant are really trying to do right by their customers, with a menu full of steak, Southern favorites, and sandwiches. I can respect that.
On this recent visit, I happened to order up a Shrimp Po’Boy. Some I’ve had are good, some have been… well, let’s just say less than inspiring. There are the ones that have six pieces of big shrimp and those packed with popcorn shrimp. This is the first one I’ve had with flattened shrimp.
I kinda peered at it for a moment, noting the soft bun that had been buttered and toasted on the inside, the thoughtfully laid out pile of vegetation, the expected cocktail sauce, and the unexpected cole slaw -- I’m used to tartar sauce or even mayo being offered as the other condiment. And I decided to give the creator the benefit of the doubt.
I’m sure glad I did. The combination of pickles, red onion, tomato, pickle, cole slaw and cocktail sauce on that soft bun with those flattened shrimp made for a very, very good sandwich. Sure, it wasn’t the chewy bite I usually get with a Louisiana-style French bread roll, but that was all right.
And let me tell you about the cake… on the jump.
Now, I’ve had my share of chocolate cake over the years (as the crowd nods affirmative). I can tell the difference between Duncan Hines and Pillsbury, between food service and made-in-the-shop. The “Homemade Chocolate Cake” at Gabe’s Grill? It’s… well, it’s about as homemade as I can remember. There’s no processed taste at all to the cake. The frosting on top is actually chocolate icing -- cocoa, confectioner’s sugar, maybe a little vanilla -- that cracks and has a little crispiness to it, just like Mom used to make (she really did, at that). The filling is a simple vanilla buttercream. There was even a tiny bit of eggshell in mine -- which might be cause for alarm on some occasions, but it made it feel a little more like home to me. Strange, that. Gabe’s Grill is on Highway 5 just a block southwest of Reynolds Road (or, for interstate traveling folks -- take the Bryant exit, go west, and then turn left on 5). They’re open for lunch and dinner. (501) 847-9962.