Location: 1201 Royal St, French Quarter
Yien and I brought a ton of music with us on our road trip, and with good reason: 2 guys with more than 30 total hours in a car together? Driving through the Midwest? You get the picture. As you can imagine though, after listening to more than a day's worth of music together, a few favorites bubbled up to the top of the queue. We had party anthems, songs representative of the trip as a whole (next post), and ones that captured how we felt at any given moment.
The song du jour? Paradise, because that's what New Orleans felt like. Warm weather, nice people, and open container laws. What could make such an incredible city even better? Incredible food. Jonesing for a proper po' boy ever since we stepped foot in the French Quarter, we walked around until we stumbled across Verti Marte, a deli known to have some of the best sandwiches in town.
Verti Marte is another one of those hole-in-the-wall local secrets, made even more holey after a giant fire leveled the original market two years ago. The newly remodeled Verti reopened roughly 18 months ago after an 8 month hiatus, during which the sandwich lovers of New Orleans felt quite unfulfilled. Luckily, all we had to do was walk in and order.
I ordered a classic Shrimp Po' boy from the incredibly nice deli dude behind the counter, and I knew they were making it fresh because it took a good 10 minutes for the chef to deliver this sandwich to me. I had them throw some lettuce, tomatoes, and a ton of hot sauce on, just the way I like it.
I'll remember that first bite for a long time. It was a lot like the first bite of an apple: you just know it can't be topped. The shrimp were juicy and well-breaded to give an enticing crunch when you bite into them, but I wish they were seasoned a little better. In fact, if it weren't for the hot sauce, the sandwich would have tasted a little bland in my opinion. Which brings me to the hot sauce. I wish they had used Tabasco, but the sauce just didn't have enough heat to elevate the sandwich from being just good. Same goes for the bread, which was a little chewier than I'd like. That said, it was nicely toasted, and the sesame seeds on top gave it an interesting flavor. Still, it wasn't like the po' boys I've had in the past, where the shrimp were the stars of the show and all the other players serve to support the taste of the shrimp.
Yien got a Fried Chicken Breast sandwich on a bun instead of French bread. A better option, perhaps? It looked real good, a giant breaded chicken breast loaded with lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo.
It tasted real good too - the breading was so well-seasoned it made me wonder why my shrimp weren't breaded the same way. The sandwich had a good amount of kick as well; combined with the hotness (temperature) of the sandwich, and it was all I could do to not steal Yien's sandwich for myself.
For teaching me that New Orleans can fry chicken with the best of 'em, Verti Marte earns 3 Cherries.