Alana Yzola: When it comes to New Orleans, po’boys are one of the most
iconic foods in the city. Herrine Ro: That might
be the best sandwich that I’ve ever had in my life. All right, let’s go. Ready to get there. Hi, I’m Herrine. Alana: Hey, I’m Alana. Herrine: And today, we
are in New Orleans to find the best po’boy in this city. Alana: Right. And while traditionally the po’boy is made with roast beef, we’re going to find the best shrimp po’boy because, one, we just like
shrimp better, and, two, in New Orleans, shrimp
po’boys are just as popular as the roast beef ones,
and we want to taste what the bayou and the Gulf has to offer. Herrine: We narrowed it
down to four different spots based off of top-rated lists and reviews based off
of Yelp and TripAdvisor. Alana: And when we’re making our decision, we’re looking for a
super soft, plushy bread. Herrine: The ratio between the shrimp and the bread has to be great. We don’t want, like, little
skimpy bits of shrimp in that sandwich. Alana: And it has to
be super well seasoned. Herrine: And we’re also looking for just, like, a general great-tasting sandwich with all the elements
making sense altogether. Alana: Right. All right, let’s go eat! Herrine: Bye! It’s not a bye. We’re leaving. Bye. Our first stop is Parkway Bakery & Tavern. It was established in 1911 but continues to serve
its classic poor boys to locals, tourists,
and celebrities alike. Customer: Parkway Tavern’s is an iconic restaurant in the city. Justin Kennedy: The po’boy
started by the Martin brothers, Benny and Clovis Martin. The po’boy didn’t come around until 1929. In the height of the Great
Depression, cars were a luxury. The main way to get
around the city transit was the New Orleans streetcars. Those guys weren’t getting
paid, so they striked. They needed food, they needed clothing, so Benny and Clovis, who were
former streetcar conductors, said, you know what, we’ve got to take care of those guys, we’ll feed our poor boys. The classic po’boy would
be the roast beef po’boy. Herrine: It’s a great roast beef sandwich. Justin: Another classic
is right in our backyard, the Gulf of Mexico.
Louisiana fried shrimp. For me, best po’boy you can get. What we do, we do a light
flour, corn flour, seasoned. Put it in the fryer, 350 degrees. To have a New Orleans po’boy, you gotta get it in New Orleans, OK? Because you gotta get the bread. This bread don’t like
leaving the zip code. And the humidity here in
the city is astronomical. That helps for baking bread. The New Orleans French bread’s crispy and crunchy on the outside, but when you cut it, the
inside’s soft like cotton candy. Lettuce, tomato, pickle,
mayo, it’s dressed. That’s the New Orleans lingo. A little hot sauce and ketchup, knock the tongue out your mouth. Alana: Yes! Yes. The reason why I acted that
way is because in 2013, after an epic performance
at the Superdome, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter
ordered 150 po’boys from this location! Herrine: Beyoncé? Alana: Beyoncé. The Obamas came here. They’re cool too. They run a country,
right? That’s pretty cool. Both: Ooh. Oh! Alana: Take a look at this shrimp. It’s perfectly breaded, and it’s almost, it’s like a golden brown, so you know it’s well seasoned. Herrine: All right. Both: Mm. Herrine: There’s that distinct
scent of the Gulf shrimp. It’s, um, briny. It’s, like, a salty kind of flavor. Alana: Salty-sweet. Herrine: All right, let’s dig in. If there’s anything, that
shrimp alone tasted so good, I can only imagine. Ready? Alana: Thank you. Herrine: That’s a f—ing
good f—ing po’boy. The bread is flaky on the outside, super soft on the inside. Alana: You’re getting the
seasoning that’s in the batter itself, and the shrimp is
just so crispy and crunchy. I love the proportion of
shrimp to full sandwich here. I could see how this is the blueprint of what a po’boy should be. Herrine: Our second stop
is Johnny’s Po-Boys, the longest family-operated
po’boy spot in the city. While their breakfast po’boys are popular, the most famous is the
fried-shrimp po’boy. Customer: I come here, like,
two or three times a week. The way they fry it, the
batter is really good, so I guess it gives it,
like, a little twist to it, and I also like cheese
and hot sauce on mine, so it gives the extra wow. Lori Beth DeGrusha: Johnny’s
Po-Boys started in 1950 with my grandparents
Johnny and Betty DeGrusha, and we’ve had it now
for three generations. The po’boys are fabulous
because of the bread. You have to start with fantastic bread, and we get ours from a
local bakery, Leidenheimer. It’s always gonna be
crunchy on the outside and really soft on the inside, which just makes your sandwich. When you can hear that nice
crunch when you bite into it, you know you’ve got a great sandwich. Lori Beth: What sets it
apart is it’s a local shrimp. You have to have the seasoning,
and it’s in your wash. You have to have it fried. I mean, you know, you
can boil it, I guess. And grill it, I guess. The secret in New Orleans:
Everybody gets it dressed. Herrine: You can really taste… What do you think about the breading? Alana: It’s really good. I will say that I do have a couple of
naked shrimps. Little bit. Also, I’m gonna need you
to pass that Crystal’s because I need hot sauce on my po’boy. Herrine: I agree with you. As much as we want a bigger crunch and bigger breading, their imperfections
still make it taste good. I forget what their motto is. Even our failures are edible. I mean, they’re edible. I feel like they are delicious. Edible is an understatement. They put it on the griddle so that you get that crunch
even on the inside layer. And then, because they
put the butter on it, it’s like, and just all the good adjectives
you could put on carbs. That’s this bread. Alana: Before heading to our next stop, we had to squeeze in some NOLA staples. Herrine: Whoo!
Alana: Oh, it’s wet! Herrine: Our next stop is Killer Poboys. It’s a modern sandwich
shop that offers po’boys in unconventional ways. Eric Baucom: A po’boy to
me is anything that we can stuff in the middle of
a loaf of French bread. There are 100 places to get
a great fried-shrimp po-boy in this town, and for us
it’s better to do something a little different that
we’re more interested in, and, you know, something a little creative that we can, you know, give everybody a change of pace. Our seared-shrimp po’boy is the
top seller at Killer Poboys. Customer: I think their Gulf
shrimp po’boy is terrific. It’s definitely a new take
on a traditional po’boy, but the shrimp are just
really big, really juicy, really delicious, and super flavorful. Eric: We’ve been featured
in numerous magazines: Bon Appétit, Playboy, GQ. So, we get the freshest
wild-caught Gulf shrimp we can get our hands on. The biggest ones, straight off the boat, delivered to us every morning. I’d say we go through about 400
pounds of shrimp every week. So, first we’re gonna go ahead
and season up these shrimp. It’s a little house blend of coriander, lime zest, salt, and pepper. Kind of like a Southern-Asian
flavor profile. Next up we’re gonna go and
quick-pickle some vegetables to go along with the po’boy. We get our bread from a
small Vietnamese bakery out in New Orleans East. It gives us a little
different flavor profile. Next thing up, we’re gonna go ahead and put our special sauce on it. It’s pretty much a sriracha mayo with some dried-shrimp
powder, some lime juice, cilantro, green onion, mint. Herrine: Do you think
the fried-shrimp po’boy is always gonna be better? Alana: How could it not? It’s fried. [laughter] Herrine: Anyway, let’s take a bite. When you take bites of the sandwich, you get, like, whole, entire shrimp that are bigger than any of the other places that we went to. Alana: I didn’t think I’d say this, but this shrimp is probably
the most flavorful shrimp that we’ve had so far. Herrine: I wanna top that. This sandwich is probably the most flavorful sandwich altogether. The pickled vegetables are so refreshing and salty, sour. Alana: And the bread. It’s a little bit more robust, so it’s able to hold more
shrimp, which is a plus. I do kind of miss the
softness and plushness of the traditional po’boy bread. Herrine: You know what I also realized? We haven’t touched the hot sauce. Alana: Crystal’s is my baby. This sandwich made me… Herrine: You just abandoned your child. abandon my child. Herrine: It’s a play on
a traditional New Orleans Creole sandwich, right? And then they’re putting
a Vietnamese spin on it but doing it still in a respectful and very delicious, artisanal way. So I appreciate it. Alana: In the Garden
District is Domilise’s. Herrine: The restaurant has been a local favorite since 1918, and the woman who held it
all together was Miss Dot, the city’s proclaimed po’boy queen. Customer: I love Domilise’s. It’s my favorite po’boy place in the city. I have to make a stop here
every time I’m in town. They use some sort of secret sauce that I think really kinda
knocks it out of the park. And I love how authentic it is. It’s been here, and it’s
kind of been unchanged, for so long. It’s kind of an institution. Alana: On busy nights, the
wait can be up to an hour. Ken Domilise: Nothing has
changed in this place. People just don’t want
you to change anything. They just want that slice of history and the character and the
ambiance associated with it, and I think that’s a big draw. Besides, the sandwiches are very good. The shrimp, I think, is the most popular. It’s a recipe that we’ve
used for generations. Ken: I think it’s the
way they’re battered. Debra: The shrimp breading is water, corn flour, and then we mix [bleep]. Ken: Can’t tell you what it is. [laughs] It’s so soft. Ken: We’re big advocates of daily fresh-baked French bread. We’ve been dealing with
Leidenheimer for years. Debra: All of our dressings are mayonnaise, lettuce, pickles,
hot sauce, and ketchup. And we make the ketchup ourselves. Herrine: I love this place so much. It is like a place just stuck in time, and it feels so homey. Everyone’s so nice. Alana: Yeah! I feel like I’m literally in my grandma’s living room. Look at these portions! Herrine: It’s huge! Alana: They had to cut it in threes just to fit it on the plate. Herrine: The bread is less
flaky than other places, but it’s definitely a lot more plush. Alana: Yes. There’s also a good amount
of shrimp in here, too, and it looks really, really
crispy, just from the eye of it. Herrine: I just had a bite of shrimp. Alana: Is it good?
Herrine: It’s so good. Alana: Oh, my God, I’ve gotta go for it. Mm. I think, out of all of the
places that we went to, I can honestly say that this is the most well breaded of all of the shrimp. Herrine: The breading is thin
but still really crunchy, and I know the secret ingredient, but… Alana: What does it rhyme with? [bleep] [laughing] Yeah! Herrine: Do you like the bread here compared to the other places? Alana: I have to say that my favorite bread is still Johnny’s. That buttered bread will,
like, live in my dreams for all of eternity. Herrine: I agree. Alana: But I will say… Herrine: The shrimp here is
a lot more well seasoned. Alana: Yeah, if there was
anything you could change, what would it be? Herrine: I’d want more shrimp. Alana: Mm, yeah, I can agree with that. Herrine: Insider tip: They said dip it in the roast beef gravy. This might be a little too much. It’s not too much. That’s bomb. I need another beer. God, this place is amazing. Alana: I would like another pinot. Herrine: What a trip! Alana: Oh, my gosh, yes. I think that po’boys might
now be my favorite sandwich. Herrine: NOLA is truly
one of my favorite cities, and the po’boy is one of the reasons why. But we’re here to make a verdict, so… Alana: We have to pick one. Three, two, one. OK. OK! You know what, it was
neck and neck for me. I almost picked that one. Herrine: Someone’s gotta gi– Alana: Pause. Herrine: Do you see anyone giving in? Do you see yourself giving in? Alana: Aah… no. [laughing] I picked Domilise’s because
Kenny, Joanne, Debra, the whole crew, just the best people. They haven’t changed that
recipe for almost a century, and for a good reason. They don’t need to reinvent anything. They stuck to the classic,
and they did it so well. They put so much
appreciation into that craft. They even make their ketchup in-house. Alana: That is true. I also wanna say that, Domilise’s, that crunch was probably
the best crunch we had. That’s why I also almost picked it, but I just wanted more of it. And as much as I love Domilise’s, I just felt like Parkway’s
was, like, the holy trinity of everything you want
in the perfect po’boy. It had that super-plush bread, you know? It had that super-flavorful shrimp, and they gave you a lot of
the shrimp. A lot of it. It was bursting from the seams! Herrine: If we’re just talking
about quantity of shrimp, Parkway did overstuff their po’boy. Alana: And that seasoning, though. Herrine: I’m just gonna go
with the fact that Parkway, in that moment when we
had Parkway’s po’boy and Domilise’s po’boy,
Parkway gave us more shrimp. For that reason alone, I will concede that Parkway is best of the best. Alana: I mean, there you have it! Parkway’s is the best of the best. I mean, if it’s good enough for Beyoncé, it’s good enough for me. Herrine: I mean, yeah. If
you bring that argument up. Alana: 150 po’boys from Parkway’s. I’m just saying. OK, guys, what do you think? Do you agree that Parkway’s
is the best of the best? Herrine: Or do you think that Domilise’s is best of the best? Alana: Or did you think
we should have picked another place we went to? Herrine: Or didn’t go to? Alana: Let us know in the comments below. Herrine: All right, bye! I’m gonna get a Bloody Mary. We’re like the two moms desperately trying to stick with the ages. Alana: Right, right kids? Right? [laughing]