I like a good sandwich, especially a good po’boy, of which there are few good examples in Atlanta. At least, that’s the opinion I bet most people have after visiting New Orleans, myself included. It’s one of those items that is truly better in the territory of its origins. The not-so-secret secret is the bread. Yeah, fried to order seafood in concert with a balanced selection of toppings (not too much) plays a part, but it’s really the bread. The French bread style from the likes of Leidenheimer’s and others is a perfect sandwich vehicle – a thin, crisp outer layer (if it cuts the roof of my mouth, it’s too hard), pillowy soft on the inside to contrast the crunchy fried sea things. Freshness is key.
My last outing to find such a sandwich, to Crawfish Shack, left me wanting something better, and it took a while for me to make my way up to AJ’s in Marietta for another go.
Man, was I pleased. Not only did they have a text book po’boy, they had a damn fine example of another recent craving of mine – muffaletta. My brother and I split a quarter sandwich along with the oyster po’boy, and it stole the show. Crunchy, oil-rich sesame bread (NOT foccacia), layered with just the right amount of meats and olive salad. It’s a destination worthy sandwich to me and the only real muffaletta I’ve tried in Atlanta.
The sides were a bit of a let down, a gummy jambalaya and rice and beans were too plain (Crystal hot sauce to the rescue), but the strength of these sandwiches (sandwich strength?) overshadowed any wrong-doing elsewhere.
The “famous” smoked fish dip was also worthy of a reorder, if you are into fish, dips, smoked things, or perhaps all three at once.