Good tasting sandwiches aren’t hard to find, but great tasting sandwiches are rare. What is the difference between delicious and great? I think a great sandwich is due to the chef’s passion about using quality ingredients. One such great sandwich maker is the Little Jewel of New Orleans. They operate in LA’s Chinatown district.
The Little Jewel of New Orleans is not a new restaurant. In fact, they opened in LA’s Chinatown area back in 2014 and I’ve been there a number of times. A co-worker told me about this place and I’ve been a fan ever since.
The establishment used to house a huge amount of cajun food staples from New Orleans. There, you could find all the dry goods you would expect in a New Orleans market. Since they opened, they have reconfigured the space to have more indoor seating. This was a wise decision because it was nearly impossible to eat inside the restaurant.
My wife and I invited some friends and we went there on a recent Sunday. We ordered a couple of appetizers: hush puppies, jambalaya bites and beignets. After we ordered our food, we noticed a refrigerated case stocked with beer and other adult beverages. We quickly picked up a few bottles of Abita, found our table and waited for our number to be called.
The hush puppies and jambalaya were golden brown and crisp on the outside. Both were served with a delicious remoulade sauce. The powdered sugar jumped off the beignets every time you took a bite out of them.
My Shrimp Po Boy had large pieces of shrimp with a crispy exterior coated with delicious spices. It was stuffed with shredded cabbage, fresh tomatoes, pickles, red onions and of course, Blue Plate Real Mayonnaise. I usually order the softshell crab po’boy and was delighted with the taste of this sandwich. I savored each bite of it.
Their po’boys are made with 10” French loaves from Leidenheimer Baking Co. in New Orleans. Chef-owner Marcus Christiana-Beniger was quoted and said “I can’t tell you how important the bread is. If the bread isn’t right, it’s all wrong. You can do whatever you want with the fillings, but don’t mess with the bread.” I can vouch that the bread is fresh, extremely soft and has a nice aroma and taste.
The Little Jewel of New Orleans also offers their sandwiches with an optional “crown” topping. For an extra $3.50, your po’boy is topped with honey bacon and melted sharp cheddar cheese. After it is assembled, it is hand smoked. I ordered a crown version of their House Made Hot Sausage Patty with Swiss Cheese to take home.
My friend ordered a half muffuletta. This was similar to a gourmet Italian sub sandwich in a round format. Genoa salami, soppressata, hot capicola, mortadella, provolone, mozzarella and house-made olive tapenade comprised the insides of the sandwich. My friend commented several times how good the sesame seed bun was. He gave it a hearty thumbs up!
I ordered “Debris Fries” and somehow it turned into a hot sausage patty with swiss and a crown topping. We could not eat another po’boy and so we wrapped this to go. This sandwich would have looked nicer if I took the picture after we received the sandwich. This is what it looked like after a 45 minute ride home. My wife and I took a small bite and I think it was my favorite. The bacon and melted cheese on top placed the sandwich over the top.
The Little Jewel of New Orleans is appropriately named as the intent is to mimic the New Orleans po’boy experience as much as possible. The key to a great sandwich is the bread and they use the same bread that is sold in New Orleans’ restaurants. They don’t skimp on the details like using Blue Plate mayonnaise and in doing so, make this an authentic New Orleans experience.
Little Jewel of New Orleans, 207 Ord St, Los Angeles, CA 90012