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Mar 18, 2009 05:42 PM

Sambet's--possibly the worst I have ever eaten

I grew up in Lake Charles, LA and my brother lives in Metarie so I have regularly gone to Mother's, Commander's, Uglesitch's before it closed, and many others.

I live pretty far south, but had a group of friends tell me how good Sambet's was and that it was so good that they would pay for my way.

The place is a dump which is normally a good sign (about three stores down from a psuedo slot machine joint. To be fair, they do have Abita rootbeer which is a bonus and normally served in a frosty jelly jar (mine was served over ice in styrofoam, but it was the least of my worries.

I ordered a roast beef poboy, chicken and sausage gumbo, and red beans and rice. Someone commented in another post that they couldn't stand cheese on their roast beef poboys, but it is very common and expected in Lake Charles and some parts of Lafayette.

The poboy had much less than 1/8 of a cup of lettuce on it and more than 2.5 cups of gravy. For newbies, gravy on a roast beef poboy is essential and you should expect a mess. The meat was inedible with the exception of one slice, the gravy was chilled (may not be common) and tasted like it was made from a McCormick seasoning packet and watered down and thickened with cornstarch or arrowroot.. I could not eat more than 3 bites and the third was for pride.

The chicken and sausage gumbo had a HUGE portion of very thinly machine-sliced sausage. There was so much sausage that it dwarfed any soupy part of the gumbo. I could detect no bits of chicken and the taste and consistency of the sausage on its very best day was a mild Eckredge sausage (no cajun seasoning). What little broth and rice I could eat was WAY too salty and I LOVE salt, so if it is too salty for me; it could be used for a salt lick in west Texas.

The red beans and rice was barely tolerable (same sausage, not as thin), but tasted like it was made from a lipton packet or rice-a-roni style mix.

The chocolate pie looked good, but my appetite had deserted me. I ate maybe 7 or so total bites despite the fact that my friends had so strongly recommended this place and watched my full plates loaded away.

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  1. After rereading my post, I did not make clear that gravy is essential for a roast beef poboy, but 2.5 cups is way too much

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chefdavis

      Yeah, that was me bitching about cheese on a RB poboy. Is that really how it is in some places? That must be a West Louisiana thing ;)
      Similarly, my friend in Lafayette was APPALLED when I mentioned I might put tomatoes in a gumbo.
      Sorry your experience was so terrible. So far, I haven't found any place around Austin that delivers on what I can get back home in Slidell and New Orleans. I've also noticed that the more they talk up Louisiana in the restaurant name, the less like Louisiana they actually taste.
      First on my list when I go home in May? A roast beef poboy either from Danny and Clyde's or Croakers with the nectar of the gods (gravy and mayonnaise) dripping down my wrist.

      1. re: MyySharona

        I've lived and searched all over the country and have all but given up on finding a proper made po-boy outside of Louisiana. It's the bread that ain't right anywhere else. Lots of people can fry up shrimp and oysters or even make a good roast beef with debris but if the bread ain't right.... it's not gonna be the same.

        One of my favorite places back down there has always been Parasol's (in the Irish Channel).

        Then there's also "The Ferdi" at Mother's. That is a rockin' po-boy right there.

        1. re: MyySharona

          My gold standard for a roast beef po boy is Parkway Bakery and Tavern and while Flying Falafel is unlikely[the counter girl from NOLA had never even heard of the legend]to sway you, I did find their offering to be likeable enough.

          Y'all's debate has been ringing in my ears for the last few days and I've been mentally building a grocery list in my head so that I can cook a few from my home skillet...but on my way to see Gomorrah at the Dobie I decided to stop in and try Flying Falafel's version.

          It's expensive.7 bucks gets you a six inch[half]"dressed"roast beef po boy.I know these folks love their ketchup so I make sure their idea of all the way doesn't include red corn syrup.

          It doesn't.

          The po boy arrives looking good.An approaching-hefty portion of roast beef is straddling a crusty hunk of French bread topped with lettuce,tomatoes,pickles and brown gravy.The beef is not high grade but has been slowly roasted before being drenched in the rich brown gravy.I'm a salt lover and this one has plenty in it.Whatever you do don't blindly salt this sandwich.The lettuce,tomato and pickle are all as non descript as you might expect.

          This is not a knife and fork po boy.You can manage it without utensils and I think I only burned through 2 napkins during my feed.Some folks will like this fact,others will not.

          I'm working my way through Flying Falafels menu because I popped into a quick mart downtown a couple weeks ago and began chatting with the counter guy.

          "yeah,I've been in America for a couple years and really like it.I'm originally from Jordan"

          "really,have you ever eaten at Flying Falafel?Their chef is from Jordan"

          "she can't cook.You need to go to Kismet cafe"

          I don't bother telling him that Nuha,FF's chef would probably roll through Kismet Cafe's kitchen like a whirling dervish,firing the slackers whilst issuing terse cooking commands to those brave enough to stick around.I've never been impressed by Kismet Cafe's tiny portions and lackadaisical flavor profiles.

          I do think Flying Falafel offers the best po boy in Austin.The talent pool here for this classic sandwich is mighty shallow so that's not a huge endorsement.

      2. I am really sorry to hear about this as well b/c I have been looking for a real roast beef poboy that requires at least 3 napkins. No luck yet. As I have mentioned in many previous posts, I have decided there is no where in Austin that can serve authentic Louisiana food. I have always just made the dishes at home and we are espically popular for our crawfish boils with our Texas friends.

        2 Replies
        1. re: groovinpinky

          I'll be your friend and help peel the leftovers if you invite me. :)

          1. re: MyySharona

            Thanks MyySharona- last time we had a boil we boiled wwwaaayy too much and I ended up peeling crawfish for a good 5 hours, but what a fantastic etoufee it made.

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