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Queen's Louisiana Po Boy Cafe [San Francisco]

  • wolfe Nov 20, 2009 02:54 PM
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I think this was my first visit to San Bruno Ave since my BBQ taste off between Vic and Betty's and Leon's at the Zoo. Anyway,as said before neat, clean place and pleasant people. 12" shrimp po boy with shrimp in every bite. Hot sauce on every table for a little punch. Will try more next visit which will be soon.

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Queen's Louisiana Po-Boy Cafe
3030 San Bruno Ave, San Francisco, CA

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  1. I had a chance to check it out on Friday afternoon. It’s certainly a bright spot on an otherwise dreary block. The website hasn’t been working, so here’s what the menu looks like.

    Menu board -
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

    Things are still a bit chaotic behind the counter, but the staff make up for any slights with warmth and enthusiasm. I had asked for my order to eat there. When it was presented to me in a take-out bag, I asked if my gumbo could be served with a non-disposable cup and spoon. Even though I don’t feel that I showed any ire, they were quite apologetic and even offered me a free drink. I declined and just asked for a glass of ice water and it was brought to my table instead of self-serve. It’s a good sign that they’re paying this close attention to customer service.

    One of the owners, Troy, stopped by to make sure everything was all right and had a chance to chat a bit. He said this is a first restaurant for his wife and him. He’s a contractor and built out the space in eight months, then it took 14 months to get a permit. Response from the community has been great in these first 10 days. One man from the neighborhood who’s from LA stopped in hoping he could practice his rusty Creole. He complimented the gumbo and then we found out that he’s from the same little town as Danielle, the wife/queen/chef. It was like old home week when they tried to figure out any common family and high school ties.

    Danielle has been coming in at 7am each day to make the roux for the gumbo. So far, she refuses to used jarred product. The bread comes from Leidenheimer. It’s frozen, par-baked and finished off here. As Troy said, it’s not a po boy if it’s not on Leidenheimer.
    http://www.leidenheimer.com/

    I had a small cup of gumbo and the fried oyster po boy. I added some Zatarain’s file powder from a shaker on the table. The packed gumbo was delicious with a deep nuttiness, the reason I asked Danielle about her roux and it didn’t surprise me to hear the amount of time she spends making her own. The juicy shrimp and crab meat are added to individual orders so they’re not dried out and tired.

    The oysters used are small but beautifully fried in a greaseless, crunchy brown batter. I found the sandwich a little dry and simple, as it didn’t have much mayo. I mentioned this when asked for my opinion and was told that I should feel free to request tartar sauce or remoulade next time. Then if I’m really being picky, the two slices of pickle were stacked on each other instead of being spread out. These are small complaints that easily remedied.

    Cup of gumbo and po boy -
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

    Here’s a better look at the sandwich that gives a better sense of how light and airy the bread is.
    Oyster po boy -
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

    I’d been sitting next to the “family” table where the owners two girls were having their meal. They wanted to know how I liked my food. When I left, the teenager came over to the door, shook my hand, thanked me for coming, and invited me to come back. I will.

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    Queen's Louisiana Po-Boy Cafe
    3030 San Bruno Ave, San Francisco, CA

    4 Replies
    1. re: Melanie Wong

      Nice review. My experience a week before with the place, the owner/queen, and the staff were similar. They really are going the extra mile to take care of everyone, figure out what they like, and to make amends for any early service hiccups.

      Nice to get the back story on the bread they use too. At first I thought it was too white and too light; we're used to more substantial 'artesian' breads here. But after a few bites it made total sense. Also good to know about the hot sauce and remoulade options. I think next time I'm there I'll suggest they make those options known on the menu, or ask while ordering. I had my 12" oyster po-boy to go. Luckily, while chatting with the owner while she was making the it, she asked if I wanted tartar sauce, so mine was at least moist enough, but I did lament the lack of heat. Next time.

      1. re: BernalKC

        Here's a link to your earlier report.
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5671...

        Yes, even though this place is new and a first restaurant venture, the owners seem to be pragmatic and have some good business sense. I felt like i was channeling Danielle on Saturday morning as I stood over a stove for an hour stirring roux to make 11 quarts of turkey gravy.

        Condiments on the tables include Crystal hot sauce, Tabasco green sauce, file, and ketchup. I doused my po boy with Crystal, but that wasn't quite enough to bring it fully to life. As you mention, prices are up there, but I think the quality is there. I got a cup of gumbo to go to take to a friend being happy with my taste test.

        I hope someone will give us a first mouth report on the beignets and hush puppies.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          I went last night, and was really blown away by the gumbo--I've never tasted a version here in the Bay Area that even came close to the depth of flavor and freshness of the seafood. Instead of having a po-boy, I ordered one of the seafood combination plates, with fried gulf shrimp, crawfish, and red snapper. The shrimp were the stars--really big, perfectly fried, and full of flavor. For my sides I got the Hush Puppies and Onion Rings. I loved the hush puppies--really crisp on the outside, tender and moist on the inside, with corn, onions, and a few other unidentified ingredients mixed in. The honey butter that came with them was just right as well--not too sweet, but really perfect for bringing out the savory aspects of the puppy. The onion rings were fine but not memorable.

          Per everyone's previous comments, I loved how friendly the family was, and how obviously invested they are in making sure that folks enjoy their food. One of the owners asked how I had heard of them, and when I said "Chowhound," he said that quite a lot of folks who came in had found them via the internet.

          My only concern came when I complimented Queen on her fantastic gumbo, and she said she was sick of making it every day! I fear the day that she decides she is too tired to make it again!

          Thanks to Chowhound for this tip. I'm so glad that I broke my Thanksgiving leftovers regimen for this.

          1. re: jillyju

            Mmm, the hush puppies sound great can't wait to try them.

    2. Worth noting: this place is incredibly easy to get in and out of from either direction on 101. I think Paul Ave will have to be renamed Queen's in my head...

      Gmap route details
      from the north: http://tinyurl.com/ybtogcv
      from the south: http://tinyurl.com/yfveaqr

      (As I write this, Google's street view shows the predecessor, the Hole in the Wall. Quite an upgrade!)

      4 Replies
      1. re: BernalKC

        And I got a non-metered parking space around the corner.

        You might want to try Yat's for another po boy example, just for comparison's sake.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          So did I. I just think your mentioning will cause expansion of the parking meter frontier south a few seconds, from latitude deg-min-sec 37° 43' 24.9024

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Sounds like a fun assignment. My only other recent po-boy was another oyster one courtesy of Cafe 15 in Oakland. Delicious in a totally different way. Smaller sandwich, crunchier bread, with more fixings, and aioli instead of tartar sauce, as I recall. The oysters were comparable in both: nicely crunchy, not noticeably greasy, on the medium/small side which I prefer.

            1. re: BernalKC

              Yat's imports the same bread, but you have the eating-in-a-dive-bar ambience.

              I uploaded this photo of Queen's interior while I was waiting for my order. Free wi-fi, but I couldn't get it to work for me. Also liked the music at Queen's.
              http://twitpic.com/qavs7

        2. Went here with a group for lunch and we all enjoyed the food. The garlic fries were perfect, not smothered in fresh garlic like the ballpark ones, which I appreciated. They were served with the remoulade. A couple of us had the fried chicken po-boys and thought they were great. Others had the hot sausage, hush puppies, fried shrimp, coleslaw and beignets. The girl who had been to New Orleans recently said the beignets weren't exactly like the ones she had in NO, which were crispier, but she said they were good. The bright signage and wrought iron detail on the storefront are refreshing on the less busy end of San Bruno Ave. Parking was easy.

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          Queen's Louisiana Po-Boy Cafe
          3030 San Bruno Ave, San Francisco, CA

          1. Here's a link to a valpak coupon for a half-price sandwich with combo meal purchase at Queen's good through 12/16/09.
            http://www.valpak.com/coupons/ad?zmid...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Ack! Forgot the coupon! We had lunch here Sunday, with a nice bustling group of patrons. Lot of to-go orders being placed.

              I had the oyster po-boy, my wife had the gumbo, and my son the chicken tenders. Po-boy was quite good, with a generous number of oysters, but the gumbo was clearly the star of the show. Great roux, lovely smoky taste. We also ordered garlic fries, which were good, but if I had it to do over I would have gotten the beignets. Friendly people and a nice clean attractive room.

            2. Has anyone tried their muffaletta? It says they have one on their website, but I don't see it on the picture of the menu board in Melanie's post.

              3 Replies
              1. re: srr

                It is not on the menu I took home either. They did have some specialty foods for sale, so maybe its available as a deli item? Or maybe they have plans for the future?

                1. re: srr

                  Went there Saturday, and as a Baton Rouge native I can vouch for the oyster po-boy with its great crispy cornmeal breading, and the famous NO sweet french roll. Agree w/ Calvinist, the gumbo is very nice, great consistency and wonderful flavor. They even have the file (ground sassafras) on the tables so you don't have to axe(sic) for it.

                  Met both Danielle and Troy, nice folks. I axed Danielle about the muffuletta and she told me they are having a hard time sourcing the right Danish ham for that sammich.

                  Parking as mentioned in prior posts is a pain, but find one, you gotta go get this stuff.

                  Wonderful place, down home food. My kinda eatin'.

                  1. re: bayareatiger

                    Aks not what your file for you.

                2. We went before the Saints game yesterday - pretty good! The jambalaya was ok - too much tomato flavor, too much rice, not enough spice and not enough other stuff. The gumbo tasted great, nice dark roux, but there wasn't enough stuff in it - some shredded chicken or crabmeat or appropriate veggies would have been welcome in the very thin but tasty broth with sausage slices and shrimp. I'd get the gumbo again, but would request easy on the rice. Still, there's the beginnings of some truly standout food there. This is definitely the best gumbo I've had outside of Nola.

                  The real star were the po boys. The shrimp po boy was *great* - moist and flavorful shrimp with some kind of tasty batter, the right bread and dressed right. The sausage po boy was also delicious, with a split spicy louisiana sausage inside. These are both worth coming back for.

                  The ladies behind the counter could not have been nicer, and had the sort of demeanor that made it plain they were from louisiana. Even given its inconvenient location to the peninsula, we will definitely return.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: artemis

                    Glad to see they holding up and is time for that promised but too long delayed return visit. Thanks.

                    1. re: artemis

                      Thanks for this update. I had a hankering to go yesterday but was worried that the crowds might be too big for the Saints game. But I have a definite craving for Gulf shrimp. I love how they source a lot of their products from the "native" territory. Sometimes, there's just no substitute.

                      Gumbo, shrimp po-boy, collards, beignets, Abita root beer, and some Zapp's chips to go for an office snack the next day. This sounds like a winner.

                      1. re: mikeh

                        Right, the Abita! My Tulane-alumni SO marveled at their huge Abita selection, which included multiple varieties he hasn't seen since the last time he was at the brewery.

                        It wasn't crowded yesterday, and the ladies were decked out in Saints jerseys and mardi gras beads, which added to the fun. I really hope this place sticks around.

                      2. re: artemis

                        At some gumbo joints, you can ask for the rice on the side. That way more gumbo and you can regulate the amount of rice. Sounds great!

                        1. re: chocolatetartguy

                          Actually, following up on my Sept 2010 post, Queen's now automatically serves the rice on the side :).

                      3. I've been back several times - everything is delicious and the staff/owners could not be nicer. Their cafe business has not been doing well (not a lot of foot traffic; rough economy), but thankfully the catering business is growing steadily. The gumbo is my absolute favorite, with a glorious dark roux and layers of rich flavor - I always wish I bought a quart instead of a pint because it reheats so well for the next day. The po' boys are perfect too. My Tulane-alum SO has put his stamp of approval on everything we've tried.

                        Blackboard Eats is running a special at Queen's today: http://www.blackboardeats.com/san-fra...

                        $14.50 Po-Boy Sampler (small chicken po’ boy or small catfish po’ boy, half pint of gumbo, half pint of red beans and rice or half pint of jambalaya, beignets

                        )

                        $18.85 Family Sampler (one pint of gumbo, one pint of red beans and rice, one pint of jambalaya, beignets)

                        I encourage the 'hounds to support this local gem, whether dropping by for a meal (great for tailgating!) or adding them to your office's catering rotation.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: artemis

                          Just wanted to get the word out that it's crawfish po'boy month (until THUR 1-31-12 ) at Queen's. (Had 1/2 of one last Friday and I've found myself with a craving for more, every day since.)

                          Hopefully for them, they'll be packed this Saturday for the 49ers vs Saints Playoff Game. They'll have 50% Off Beers & Live New Orleans Brass Band, too.

                          1. re: scarmoza

                            Do they ever have soft-shell crab po'boys?

                            1. re: chocolatetartguy

                              According to their Facebook page, they did during the first half of December:

                              https://www.facebook.com/groups/16339...

                              1. re: chocolatetartguy

                                Dangit... either I missed it, or I went two days too early. Their mailing list just announced that they'll be having soft shell crabs this month.

                          2. What a great place! The gumbo was smooth and well spiced. If I'm driving up the 101, i can imagine stopping in for a detour just to pick it up. The oyster po-boy was top notch too. I took Melanie's advice above and had them put remoulade on it.

                            We also enjoyed their wide selection of Abita beer, beignets, and red beans and rice, the latter being their best side (they were out of potato salad). They put powdered sugar on the sweet potato fries and I'd ask them to hold the sugar next time. The fried chicken was fine, but since four of us were splitting the dinner, I'd have preferred to have skipped the chicken and gotten another po-boy.

                            1. I ate here for the first time last week, and was overall impressed with the food.

                              Highlights for me were the sides: gumbo (with shrimp) and jambalaya were both very good, and red beans were fantastic. I'm not sure what it was about the beans that made them so great, but I guess it has to do with texture - not overdone and mushy, but not underdone and hard. Nice flavors, nothing too powerful, just delicious.

                              Oyster po boy and catfish po boys were both pretty good, but I wish I had asked for remoulade on them (didn't read this thread until now). Beignets were also pretty great - freshly fried, covered in powdered sugar, no fillings. I wish I could have had a po boy without the french fries, since they weren't too exciting (though not bad)

                              Certainly good to know about this place, and I'd definitely return, especially for the rice and beans.