There’s nothing subtle about a po-boy. They combine light, crispy French bread with heavy, hearty fillings and, if dressed, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise. It may be sacrilege to say so, but as a sandwich they are incredibly one-dimensional. Even the best po-boys hammer mercilessly at the same taste bud (pleasant though that sensation may be). This is a realization I’ve come to since eating at St. James Cheese Company.
The shop offers a wide variety of artisanal cheeses and cheese paraphernalia from all over the world thanks to the connections of Richard Sutton who runs the store with his wife Danielle. In 2006, they moved from London where Sutton ran the 200-year-old cheese shop Paxton and Whitfield.
Their menu makes excellent use of their cheese ”” all of the regular sandwiches are named after a type of cheese, and the “Smokey Blue” is arguably the MVP of the bunch. It’s a roast beef sandwich dressed modestly with lettuce, tomato, Worcestershire mayonnaise, and a generous crumbling of smokey blue cheese. The combination, served on toasted multigrain bread, doesn’t overpower. You’ll find new flavors in each bite, from the funk of the blue cheese to the savory tang of the mayonnaise, and of course the tender beefiness of the roast beef. Some of the sandwiches on the menu are cheesier, but the Smokey Blue has the best balance.
The shop is generally crowded during lunch, so expect to wait. In addition to the regular menu there are sandwiches on special, which have included a fantastic Cuban sandwich with pulled pork and onion mayonnaise as well as a sandwich featuring fennel-rubbed pork belly cooked in house.
Be sure to check out the shop’s blog and Twitter feed, where they post information about cheese classes and sandwich specials. And don’t be surprised if you see cheese boards provided by St. James Cheese at your favorite restaurant ”” they’ve been helping a diverse selection of restaurants, as varied as Avenue Pub and Commander’s Palace, select cheeses to supplement their menus.