When I know I'm about to go to Crabby Jack's, I go a little crazy. I dance a little dance, sing a little song, and hop around, driving Paul bonkers until we hop in the car and go. This is how hushpuppies got invented, I think. I'm that little puppy begging for seafood!
If you've heard me swoon about Parkway Bakery's po-boys before, especially if I've gone there with you, then you might doubt what I'm about to say, but just trust me on this. Crabby Jack's is better. It's not in our neighborhood, but it's honestly the best po-boy we've ever laid eyes on, from the seafood (or roast duck) to the bread (the perfect texture) to the fixings. We've been there several times in the past few months before coming to this conclusion (and I went a few times when I worked at Tulane), so it's not some afternoon fling...it's a long-term love affair. I get jealous of myself every time I go.
[shrimp & oyster combo]
Oysters! Yep, they've got 'em, and they cook them perfectly (see Paul's oyster po-boy pictured at top). Crabby Jack's is right next door to the Louisiana Seafood Exchange, where they get all their fresh critters. If they're not up to par, they don't cook them. How do I know all this? Because of this awesome little bit in this month's Saveur Magazine. Crabby Jack's is listed in their "Saveur 100" of interesting food finds for the year (read it here, PLUS get the link to Crabby's recipe for fried oysters!). So if you're coming to New Orleans and you've never been there (like most visitors, because it's not in the Quarter or any area where people normally visit), get someone to take you. Hire a cab, call a long-lost friend, whatever you have to do. And don't wait for dinner or for Sunday, because they ain't open then. You've got to get it early if you get it at all. But GET IT! Get it, child.
They also offer fried chicken, fish tacos, jambalaya, fried green tomatoes, mac and cheese, blackened pork chops, and an awesome choose-your-own-topping salad setup. We never get anything but po-boys and fries, though, so today a special effort was made to try the jambalaya. It's a little smoky and sweet with tomato--pretty darn good. As Paul said, "I wouldn't kick it out of bed for being served with crackers." Me neither.
Here's one last photo, of their roasted duck po-boy (below), that we sampled earlier in the fall. Let me close with this: I'll always love Parkway. They're solid, their gravy fries are a thing of beauty, and they serve at dinnertime, which is important in my life. But Crabby Jack's takes the prize. Jack may be crabby, but I've never left there in a state other than bliss.