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A Poor Man’s Sandwich, Fit for a Queen.

A fried-oyster po’ boy wroth traveling to Pier 33½ for.

 

The portside restaurants of the upper Embarcadero aren’t known for their excellence.

And why should they be? Day after fog-soaked day, a deluge of tourists passes through, and what they demand, mostly, are generic clam-chowder bread bowls and a view of the water.

One exception: Portola district standby Queen’s Louisiana Po-Boy Café opened its first expansion on Pier 33 in October. “We’re not so cookie-cutter,” owner Danielle Reese says. “We’re an original restaurant.” While you can get chowder at Queen’s, the better play is the roux-based, okra-less gumbo ($7/$15)—the kind Reese says is typical in her hometown of Opelousas, Louisiana.

But if you only have the stomach space for one thing, don’t pass on the fried-oyster po’ boy ($15). Most local versions are over-garnished and overcomplicated—a sign, Reese says, that a chef is missing the whole point: “It’s a poor man’s sandwich, in essence.” She serves hers “dressed,” in the traditional sense, with only a thin layer of lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and mayo.

Nothing distracts from the oysters, which are uncommonly plump and juicy and fried to a sublime crunch. It’s a New Orleans classic and also one of the very best sandwiches in San Francisco. You don’t have to be a tourist to be willing to travel a long distance for that.
Pier 33½ (Embarcadero at Bay St.), Ste. 100, 415-397-1507

 

Originally published in the December issue of San Francisco 

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