By: Kat Stromquist
I knew of (but had never eaten at) Serio’s from my days working nearby in the Central Business District of New Orleans. They had a reputation for good sandwiches and a long lunch queue, which is generally – though not always – a good sign.
So imagine my trepidation when I encountered, at 1:00 on a Tuesday, a deserted restaurant. A few employees lounged about a table, apparently enjoying a lunch break. Otherwise, not a soul stirred in the Louisiana-sports-themed dining room.
But alas, blogging requires us to undertake many questionable ventures. So I stepped to the counter and ordered a cheeseburger po-boy (basically a cheeseburger on French bread.) The counter attendant/chef, displaying exactly none of the typical NOLA short-order surliness, helpfully inquired after my choice of cheese (from American, Swiss, and Provolone – I chose Swiss) and offered mustard when I mentioned my contempt for mayonnaise.
The Serio’s cheeseburger po-boy is two half-inch-thick beef patties cooked toward the “well” side of “medium-well,” with cheese melted on and a slice thrown on afterward (presumably for texture). It’s dressed classically with iceberg and a few fatigued-looking tomatoes. They use a “hard” French po-boy bun, as opposed to a soft one. I prefer soft, but hard is more traditional.
As you can probably tell, I wasn’t expecting much from this sandwich. But as I bit into it, juices seeped from the meat, the bun crackled satisfyingly, and the well-seasoned beef (strong flavors of onion and a certain je ne sais quoi spice blend) filled my mouth with its savory flavor. Amazing! This unremarkable-looking sandwich was, somehow, delicious.
I’m going to attribute this one to the patty’s quality seasoning – a real “mystery meat” if ever I tasted one. Add that to the heartfelt service that continued throughout my meal (the chef checked on my food, and another employee offered to wrap up the remains of my extremely generous portion for me), and I’d recommend Serio’s anytime.
Next time, I’ll go for the muffaletta (available in whole, half and quarter portions.)