On a recent trip to N.O., I took friends to Napoleon House for muffulettas because of numerous positive reviews from those who should know better. Though I don't go to bars for the food, this, I thought, might be an exception, because of the glowing recommendations. The muff was tasteless on all levels. Went to Central for the real thing, albeit smaller than the past. At least it had the kick and flavor you expect.
Hungry, I couldn't agree more. Those are terrible and tasteless. The major taste of a good muff is the olive salad and theirs has no taste. We who live in the Quarter are constantly amazed at how people rank them as some of the best and cannot understand where they got this reputation. The owners are Italian (Impastato) but I think they just live on the reputation of the bar for the food.
I'm like you. I couldn't figure out why anyone said they were good. But this is like most of the food at the Napolean House, esp. the red beans and rice--those are Blue Runner beans. If you like them or that is what you grew up on, fine, but those are not close to good like real red beans. Except for booze and ambiance, is there anything you like to eat there. When my girlfriend forces me to eat there, I'll have the meatball po-boy which is acceptable.
Because they'd been drinking?
Because they aren't from New Orleans and have no basis for comparison? Have never eaten a muffaletta before in their lives? Don't know what olive salad is?
There's lot of postings on the NOLA board raving about the definitive, very best po'boy, gumbo, whatever from people who spend three days there. And then they trash the classics.
I just shake my head...
Years ago, I would have recommended Frank's Deli (Decateur, just down from Central Grocery), for the best Muffs in NO. Frank is gone, and his mother-in-law, who did much of the cooking is longer gone. His WERE the best in NO. We'd do Muff tastings with visiting friends, first Central Grocery, then Frank's, and no one voted for Central Grocery as #1. I had the Muff at Napolean House once, and swore - never again.
The Gagliano kids now (or did on my last visit) run Frank's and so very much has changed from the old-days, with mother-in-law at the steam table in the window, and I doubt that the Muffs are as good. Gotta' go back and do an A-B comparison again.
Man, I long for the days, when I'd bike down from River Ridge, share a Muff with wife, and then do Frank's mother-in-law's roast beef po-boy with swiss and hot mustard (she'd keep a bottle hidden behind the counter, just for me). Her RB po-boy put Mother's RB "debris" to shame! But, those days are long gone. Only Acy's Pool Hall's version could compare, but the Admin. has already slapped my hand for talking about the good-old-days!