Catfish Po’ Boy – Poor House Bistro, South Autumn St, San Jose, CA

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I mean this as a compliment: There was nothing special about this sandwich. It was a straightforward po’ boy. Fried catfish atop a bed of slaw, tartar sauce and pickles to finish. Everything was well executed, the slaw itself was light and fresh and the tartar sauce was vibrant and flavorful. The catfish in the sandwich was fried to order which is the biggest thing a restaurant can do to ensure a fine sandwich. Other po’ boys I’ve eaten, as well as a crab cake sandwich that was spectacular otherwise, fry their main ingredient ahead of time and wait for you to order it. The result is often a limp, soggy sandwich. Poor House Bistro understands this challenge and rises above it, taking the extra time to make your sandwich after you order it. I assure you that this fine sandwich is worth the wait.

The reason I would praise this sandwich for taking no chances and doing nothing out of the ordinary has to do with how I view the role of the outpost. Every cuisine, and specifically every type of sandwich, has a home. It has a place of creation, a place where it was first refined and loved. It branches out from there, carried to restaurants, take-out counters and lunch trucks by dedicated fanatics or crafty entrepreneurs. It is my opinion that these individuals who take their cherished cuisine out into the world should present it in its classical form. Were I in Louisiana I would happily seek out a reimagined or deconstructed po’ boy but when I sit down for one more than 2000 miles away I want the dictionary definition of the sandwich. That is what Poor House Bistro delivers and I couldn’t think to ask for more.

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4 thoughts on “Catfish Po’ Boy – Poor House Bistro, South Autumn St, San Jose, CA

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