Po' boys and Ben-Yay’s on Orchard Street
Calvin Trillin used to joke when asked where to find the best po’ boy in New York that you have to go to Queens then take a plane from LaGuardia directly to New Orleans. I agreed until I wandered into Cheeky Sandwiches on Orchard and ordered a half shrimp, half oyster po’ boy, fully dressed, of course.
In Philly, only hoagies or cheesesteaks made with Sarcone’s Bakery bread are the real McCoy. In Miami the only bread worthy of a Cubano is Cuban lard bread. So it is with the bread for Cheeky’s po’ boy. Cheeky gets its bread from John Gendusa Bakery, which, in 1929, created the New Orleans French bread without which po’ boys would be naked rather than fully dressed.
Speaking of dressing, Cheeky slathers on just the right combo of lettuce, tomato, pickle, mayo and hot sauce. The oysters and shrimp are fried to order. The breading clings to the delicate seafood while the airy flaky hero roll turns into breadcrumbs with each bite.
For a side, try Zapp’s Spicy Cajun Crawtators, potato chips that taste like a crawfish boil, and wash it all down with Big Shot Fruit Punch soda, also imported from NOLA. The “Ben-Yay’s” may not be spelled correctly, and they looked bit like Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins, but they were warm and oozy. Cheeky’s decor evokes a Cajun swamp shack and has the food to match. At $8.50 a sandwich it might be a little rich for a po’ boy, but think about what you’ll have saved on a flight to Louisiana.
Cheeky Sandwiches — 35 Orchard St, New York