WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
Mahony’s is to Parasol’s (or Mother’s or Johnny’s or Liuzza’s) what Commander’s Palace is to Galatoire’s. It’s a poor boy shop whose food is immediately recognizable as saturated with local flavor. But it has rethought all the classics, and presents the goods with a decidedly contemporary stamp. This shows itself most forcefully in the raw materials. Like the current generation of gourmet chefs, Mahony’s puts more than average effort into buying its meats, seafoods, dressings, and bread.
Everything is cooked in house, and no recipe was accepted without question. This may puzzle people who have been eating poor boys all their long lives, and who expect a certain flavor and conformation. Everything here is good, but it’s all a little offbeat. It’s not surprising that Mahony’s clientele skews young. Those who have been eating roast beef poor boys for fifty years may find it too far off the classical beam to enjoy it.
Chef Ben Wicks and Art Mahony Murray opened Mahony’s in 2008, taking over an interesting space formerly that of Winnie’s Artsy Cafe–one of the early openers when Magazine Street boomed in the wake of the hurricane. Wicks was cheffing at RioMar, but was thinking of opening his own place. At the time, the poor-boy-shop genre was experiencing its greatest repopularization in New Orleans history, and the idea appealed to him. The Irish aspect of the name is a reference to the Irish Channel, although the restaurant is outside the traditional boundaries of that district.
Mahoney’s occupies a handsome old cottage with a pleasant porch in front. The dining room is wide and spacious with big windows on three sides. A large bar on the right serves to both dispense beverages of all kinds and to take and deliver orders. Ceiling fans keep the place cool even on really hot days.
Poor boy sandwiches:
»Pot roast beef
»Roast turkey and gravy
»Root beer glazed ham and cheese
Cochon de lait with Creole slaw
»Fried chicken livers and Creole slaw
»Fried oyster remoulade
»Peacemaker (fried oysters, bacon and cheddar cheese)
»Grilled shrimp with fried green tomatoes and remoulade
»Veal, meatball, or eggplant parmesan
French fries, roast beef gravy and Cheddar
»Muffuletta (half or whole, on muffuletta bread)
Sides and other items:
Fried green tomatoes
Sweet potato crunch pie
Chocolate cake with peanut butter icing
Bread pudding and rum sauce
FOR BEST RESULTS
Start with a pile of thin onion rings. The restaurant’s original sandwiches–are very much worth trying, even the ones that sound eccentric. (I’m pleased to see root beer-glazed ham on the list.) The standard poor boys are well-made too. A plate special is offered every day, too, as are a few salads.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
I like the flavor of the roast beef and its gravy, but because I am one of those guys who have been eating roast beef poor boys for fifty years, I can’t say the chunks of meat (as opposed to slices) is my favorite form of this sandwich. I think they put too much gravy on the sandwich, too–but others like it that way.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment +1
- Consistency +1
- Value +1
- Attitude +1
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness +1
- Local Color +2
- Courtyard or deck dining
- Good for business meetings
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Dinner ends early (8 p.m.)
- Open all afternoon
- Unusually large servings
- Quick, good meal
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
- No reservations