After my visit to the Abita Brewery, and my 23.83 mile jaunt across Lake Pontchartrain from Abita Springs, I decided to keep with my ritual on every trip to New Orleans and go straight for a Roast Beef Po-Boy! I’ve heard good things about Radosta’s in old Metarie, so that is where I headed.
Radosta’s Restaurant & Deli
249 Aris Avenue Metairie, LA 70005-3424
1 (504) 831-1537
Tucked away on a neighborhood street, it took a little looking to find. Although it was slow when I came in, I got the feeling right away that this is the kind of joint that locals in the neighborhood pay a strong allegiance to. The folks that own and run it, are just as nice as can be.
I ordered at the deli counter, the gentleman behind the counter took my order, and when I asked about a drink he said, “Just help yourself to anything you like from the coolers, just like you’re at home. You can pay on the way out.” I liked that.
I love neighborhood places like this, and it always makes me jealous that I don’t have one like it. A father and son grabbing a Po boy and a soda, presumably after school, another family relaxing and talking after a late lunch. The counterman casually checking the score on the TV as he prepares my sandwich. No stress, no mess. Business as usual.
My food arrived a few minutes later, a dressed Roast Beef Po-Boy, and a cup of Gumbo. I started with the Gumbo, and I have to tell you, I was floored, just delicious. Nothing crazy, or new, just a well made, well seasoned File Gumbo. I loved it. Honestly, I don’t usually order a Gumbo at restaurants, because quite frankly, I like my own. But I was glad I did on this occasion, it really hit the spot.
On to the main attraction, the Roast Beef Po-Boy. Very good, wonderful beef, tender with good flavor! Good buttered and toasted French Bread. Dressed. Generally I like my Roast Beef Po Boys a little more sloppy, lots of gravy and mayo. This one was more about the beef itself which was very good and a very generous portion!
This recipe like many others on Nola Cuisine is written for folks like myself who love the food of New Orleans, but are too far away to walk out their door and have someone else do the cookin’. I’ve had a hunger for a Roast Beef from Parasol’s ever since my trip last March, but since I live in Michigan, this is a major problem, so I decided to put together a recipe to make my own, based on the video below of Parasol’s owner Jeff Carreras making the Po Boy at the restaurant.
I made a recipe based on what I saw, although pared down so that it will work for the home cook. This isn’t a fancy recipe, but I would say most authentic in it’s preparation to what you will find in a lot of neighborhood restaurants in New Orleans, the first bite took me right to Parasol’s in the Irish Channel.
I am totally aware that the host in this clip from the food network is a total Stooge, but this little video is a god send. The owner of Parasol’s graciously shows us how to make their Roast Beef Po Boy, granted we have to listen to that bleach blonde goon yammer through the whole video, but it is almost worth it. This is an unpretentious, neighborhood recipe. Some may lift their nose to the Kitchen Bouquet and some of the preparation, I swayed a little myself, but the end result is totally authentic. Try it for yourself, you’ll be moanin’ in your seat with a land fills worth of gravy stained napkins around you. I promise.
A note on New Orleans French Bread, or Po Boy Bread. I was fortunate enough recently to locate an acceptable substitute for New Orleans Po Boy or French Bread at a local market. Not exact mind you, but it has a lot of the same characteristics, Crisp, yet chewy Crust, soft center, cotton candy-like as it is often called, and just the right size. I’ve tried and tried over the years to create a recipe that is close, but I’m on hiatus from that mission for the time being. You wouldn’t believe the amount of emails I receive asking if I have the magic recipe. Not yet, sorry.
The object of the Po Boy Bread in this recipe is to make the eating experience as messy as possible. During your first bite the sandwich should flatten somewhat and your hands (as well as chin and possibly clothing) should be awash with gravy, beef debris, mayonnaise and possibly a few shreds of lettuce as the contents spray from the sides as if the sandwich was stepped on. Relax and enjoy, resist the urge to reach for that over sized stack of napkins until the last morsel is gone. In my humble opinion, the best Roast Beef Po Boys in New Orleans are judged by the amount of napkins used to clean up the aftermath.
This post is for my good friend Bill Moran, who unfortunately is laid up in the hospital in Corpus Christi. I wish I was close enough to bring you one of these my friend, I hope you get home soon.
Parasol’s Style Roast Beef Po Boy Recipe
For the Beef:
2 lbs Beef Round, I used a bottom round Roast
Water, enough to cover by one inch in a dutch oven
For the Gravy:
1/2 Cup Flour
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder (must be powder, not granulated)
1 tsp Black Pepper
2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/4 Cup Oil
1 tsp Kitchen Bouquet
3 Cups Broth, reserved from the boiled beef (maybe more if your gravy gets too thick)
Bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the beef roast, when the pot comes back to a boil, reduce the heat to medium to medium high, you should have a heavy simmer. Cook for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the liquid and refrigerate until cold. Reserve about five cups of the broth, you won’t need all of it, but keep some to thin the gravy out if necessary.
While the beef is cooling make the gravy.
Bring 3 cups of the reserved cooking liquid to a boil in a small saucepan.
In a small bowl whisk together the flour, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, then the oil and kitchen bouquet, when thoroughly blended, whisk the mixture into the boiling broth, whisk together well, and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. If necessary add a little of the reserved broth if the gravy is too thick. It should be. not too thick, not too thin. Let the gravy simmer for 20-30 minutes adjust for seasonings, it should have a good amount of salt as the beef has none.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
When the beef is cold, slice it as thin as possible and lay the slices in a 9X9 baking pan. The thicker your slices are, the longer it will take in the oven, so slice thin. or your hungry ass will be waiting. 🙂
Cover the beef with 2-3 cups of the gravy. Place into the oven 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the beef is fall apart tender.
For the Po Boy:
2 ten inch French Loaves, see article above
2 Tomatoes, sliced
2 Cups shredded Iceburg Lettuce
1 Dill Pickle, sliced
The Roast Beef from the above recipe
Slice the bread in half lengthwise and lay both halves side by side. Slather a bunch of mayonnaise on both sides (I’ll be the cholesterol devil on your shoulder: Come on, your doctor’s not lookin’, don’t be stingy!).
On the top half, add pickle slices, tomato slices, and 1 Cup of the lettuce. On the bottom half, add 1/2 of the beef and gravy mixture (please note, I super-sized the amount of beef in this recipe). Fold the top over the side with the beef and put on a sheet pan. Repeat with the second sandwich. Place the sheet pan in the oven for 2-3 minutes to crisp and warm the bread.
Cut each sandwich in half and serve on paper plates for authenticity. Serve with your favorite cold beer, Barq’s in a bottle, Zapp’s chips, and a big ole’ pile of napkins. Enjoy!
Serves 2 hungry eating machines, or 4 light weights.
And let me say that this is one of the great drinking establishments in New Orleans, a wonderful hole in the wall bar, almost always packed with locals and whomever else happens to walk or stumble through the door.
The kind of Irish Pub with hand written signs that say things like “A 20% gratuity will be added to any credit cards left at the bar. You Drunks!!” This one made me laugh because in my past, I have to admit…guilty as charged. It’s always good to be in a town where you’re among friends.
Running parallel with the bar, on the other side of the wall is a somewhat dingy little dining room (I say that with the utmost respect and actually as a compliment), where in my humble opinion, the BEST Roast Beef Po Boy (my Parasol’s style Roast Beef Po Boy Recipe) is served. Detractors can go nuts in the comments section if you like, this is a hot debate, but Parasol’s serves the kind that I like, Roast Beef that is just obliterated from long slow cooking in a rich gravy, smothered with mayonaise, some tomatoes, pickles and lettuce; dressed that is. And that bread! Light as can be, yet chewy, with a crust that is beyond imagine!
Now the fun starts. This is also the messiest sandwich I have ever eaten, hats off. From my first bite I was awash in debris, mayo, gravy, up to my elbows. I actually ran out of napkins and had to clean myself by rolling around in a small patch of grass I found on Constance. I’m exaggerating of course, but you know what I mean, good sloppy eating in one of the most colorful little Irish bars I’ve ahd the pleasure of visiting.
Speaking of which, tomorrow being St Patrick’s Day, this is the place to be in the city, they annually host a block party that begins at 11:00 a.m. and runs all day long! Wish I was there! Here are some pics of the block party on their website.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!!
Gaston from The New Orleans Creole and Cajun Cuisine Blog sent us this video which shows the owner of Parasol’s making their famous Roast Beef. They should have given the host a Po Boy to keep him from talking so much through the video, that clown annoys me. (**Update – Upon my second viewing of this video, I’ve concluded that this guy from the Food Network, is THE biggest stooge on TV! Larry, Moe, Curly, Shemp, and even the elusive Curly Joe, have nothing on this guy.) Thanks for the link Gaston, and keep up the great blogging! Here is the video: