Sunday, August 11, 2013

“I’ll Have the Whole Roast Beef…

…extra gravy, fries,…and a diet coke.” Come on guy. At this point you might as well go whole hog and get the sweet tea.

That was the order placed by the gentleman sitting behind me at Julien's Famous Cajun Style Po-Boys. We find ourselves here on the recommendation of—who else—the rental car agent from whom we obtained the temporary replacement for the Big White Truck.

“Ask a Cajun what his favorite lunchtime meal is, and he’s likely to choose a po’boy, south Louisiana’s answer to the hero sandwich. What distinguishes a poor boy from its sandwich cousins is the French bread, flaky on the outside and soft on the inside. It’s not a real po’boy if you aren’t wiping breadcrumbs off yourself after you’re done.

“While bread may be king of the poor boy world, the ingredients can hardly be considered peasants. Poor boy shops live and die by the quality of their ingredients, the most common being fried shrimp, fried crawfish, fried catfish, fried oyster (see a pattern here?), and roast beef for the slightly more health conscious” (

Julien’s shares a very small strip mall with a laundromat (or washateria as they are sometimes referred to in Louisiana) and a plate lunch house (Laura's II). We have driven past Julien’s any number of times and have eaten at the adjoining restaurant.
 And I was expecting a small hole-in-the-wall. I wasn’t expecting ruffled curtains and patterned wallpaper.
I also wasn’t expecting the small display of art by Dusty Reed, a.k.a. The Cajun Picasso.

“For the 32-year-old artist self-dubbed the Cajun Picasso, choosing a favorite art medium is simple, yet complex. Dusty Reed’s favorite materials aren’t acrylics, spray paint, mud, moss or sand. ‘My medium, of course, is Louisiana,’ Dusty Reed says. ‘My medium is Lafayette.’ (Megan Wyatt at You’ll be learning more about Dusty and some of his fellow Lafayette folk artists in an upcoming blog.

While Julien’s is primarily known for its poor boys, the menu does include some salads and platters. But it is in the selection of poor boys—over and above the expected fried shrimp, fried catfish, fried oysters (in season), fried crawfish tails, and the roast beef ordered by the gentleman above—that the restaurant’s uniqueness reigns with such unusual items as: Shrimp en Brochette: with fried shrimp wrapped in bacon and dressed with lettuce and tartar sauce; Ragin Cajun: with ham that has been boiled in crab boil, topped with melted jalapeno cheese, and dressed with mayonnaise and lettuce; Real Jule: with roast beef, onions, chili, melted cheddar cheese, and mayonnaise; Italian Stallion with thinly-sliced ham and Italian salad mix and topped with melted provolone cheese and mayonnaise; Veal Cutlet with a five-ounce portion of seasoned veal, battered and fried, and dressed with mayonnaise and lettuce; Pork Chop with a boneless, center cut, grilled pork chop dressed with grilled onions, lettuce, and mayonnaise and; Alligator Sausage with grilled alligator sausage dressed with lettuce, mayonnaise and grilled onions. Many of these come as wholes (twelve inches) or halves (six inches) and some, like our choices, come as halves only.

Chuck’s choice was the Rib Eye Poor Boy—a Cajun seasoned grilled rib eye that was dressed with mayonnaise, lettuce, and grilled onions.
Despite containing a good amount of fat which Chuck deftly removed, this was a juicy and tender piece of meat even though the kitchen doesn’t know from medium well to medium rare. You get it the way they cook it. And this may have been one of the messiest sandwiches in history with grilled onions spilling out with every bite.

I decided on the Soft Shell Crab Poor Boy that contained a fried jumbo soft shell crab and was dressed with lettuce and tartar sauce. I do suspect that the soft shell had been frozen since it lacked the juiciness of a fresh crab. But it was indeed jumbo and had been beautifully fried.
One of the stars of both of our sandwiches was the bread. It was perfect poor boy bread with a softish interior but crackling crust. And we both were brushing breadcrumbs off ourselves and the table when we were finished.

Of course we had to have fries and these were good battered and seasoned ones. But the side for which Julien’s is best known is the onion rings.
“Holy fried onion strings Batman! Which I can only describe as the most awesome way to eat onions ever!...” (Leslie G. at These were ultra thin—as Guy Fieri would say “so thin they only have one side”--and when cooked, developed a sweet and nutty flavor. They were good, but both 2Paul’s (Lafayette) and Sunny’s Fried Chicken (Church Point) do them better.
We did enjoy our lunch at Julien's Famous Cajun Style Po-Boys…”But wait, poor boys aren’t Cajun, they’re from New Orleans! That’s technically true, but after what New Orleans did with…gumbo (the tomato fiasco), we’re taking the poor boy for ourselves – consider dat a reparation. And if you New Orleans folks don’t watch out, we’ll go after your beignets next! Anyway, this is a blog about stuff Cajun people like, not stuff Cajun people invented, and the poor boy is a great idea no matter who came up with it first” (
Let’s start again. We did enjoy our lunch at Julien's Famous Cajun Style Po-Boys, but the key to my poor boy heart still belongs to Bon Creole Lunch Counter in New Iberia. Still, Julien’s is a mere ten miles away as opposed to forty and was good enough to earn 4.0 Addies.
To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

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