May 24th, 2011
The Big Mamou: A Casual Cajun Delight
In 6 Words: muffaletta, yellow, house, Heights, generous, Cajun
The need for some kind of topping saturated sandwich hits Paul and I hard as the clock nears two. I think of my Houston submarine short list and try to narrow it down to what’s closest. Just as my appetite starts down the path of an unruly toddler threatening my keys to the toilet, our eyes spot the Big Mamou on Studewood. Cajun. Surely they’ve got a po’boy or a muffaletta.
Finding a parking spot to the side of the building proves to be of no problem. As we walk up the ramp onto the front deck our eyes scan the chalk boards for specials, brunch times, anything of use in helping to make our decision for food more efficient. Entering the small house with yellow siding, it’s immediately apparent that the Saturday lunch crowd is still humming with no signs of slowing.
We’re told to take any open seat – like big mamous, ourselves, we’ve got the pick a’ the land. The weather is nice. It’s mildly breezy, keeping the humidity from settling on the backs of our necks. I grab a couple of menus and let the hostess know that we’ll be enjoying the outdoors for an afternoon feast. Wrought iron chairs and tables welcome us once again as we bee line back towards the front porch from which we came.
The menu presents an assortment of dishes, I would say not unlike some of the other boutique restaurants in the Heights – Zelko Bistro and Shade come to mind. The difference is the far lean towards all things Cajun and Louisiana. As I peruse my options, I see they do have more than a couple different po’boys, a chicken sandwich, a turkey club, and a muffaletta. Sold. Paul and I quickly decide upon the Cajun Roast Beef Po’ Boy with seasoned fries and the Muffaletta with a salad respectively.
Our food arrives quickly. Paul’s open-faced feast has me reconsidering my own order—that is, until I take my first bite. The olive salad, layers of salami, ham and provolone all warmed to perfection on a supremely soft muffaletta roll all reaffirm my decision about a hundred times over. To my surprise, the olive salad is not too salty – a tricky bullet to dodge, indeed. Paul’s po’boy, with Cajun-spiced roast beef stacked and stuffed, drenched in debris gravy all resting on a 9” loaf glazed with horseradish-infused mayo, is a sandwich above all others on this day. Is this the hunger speaking or is it really just that delicious?
As our plates keep their contents only long enough for us to take these photos, we move onto our sides. My salad is good, the ingredients taste and look very fresh. Paul’s fries, on the other hand, fell flat. His conclusion—too mushy for their size. While it bothers me to waste a nearly full basket, neither of us can muster the stomach capacity. Fries don’t keep well as left-overs and there aren’t any other hungry souls in sight. On that thought we ask for the checks and move on from the Mamou, an experience I’m sure we’ll have again.