Italian Salad @ Tessie’s Place
Out-of-town reader of Italian extraction, please listen! All around New Orleans for several generations, neighborhood Italian restaurants owned by thoroughly Italian people have included on their menus something they call a “wop salad.” The word was never considered a slur when used in this context. It’s derived from the Sicilian dialect word “guappo,” which is defined as a well-groomed, seemingly urbane but fun-loving young man. A guappo salad is a collection of olives, peppers, celery, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and lettuce with a garlicky vinaigrette. Only three restaurants still use the old name on their menus. But all such restaurants still offer the same thing under the name “Italian salad.” A lot of customers (most of them Italian) still ask for it by the old name. This one, from a hard-to-find cafe with roots going back to the 1940s, makes it at least as well as anyone else.
Tessie’s Place. Metairie: 116 N Woodlawn Dr. 504-835-8377.
This is among the 500 best dishes in New Orleans area restaurants. Click here for a list of the other 499.