"This place makes it hard to eat at other places."
Those muffled words barely escaped my friend's mouth as he feasted on the Cold Roast Beef Sandwich ($11) at Cochon Butcher in New Orleans last week. We hit the Warehouse District sandwich shop on a gray and dreary day, on the cusp of a very public well-into-the-afternoon-hunger-induced meltdown. Our bad moods and hunger pangs died quick and decisive deaths after bite number one of the cold roast beef, one of the best sandwiches I've had in the Crescent City—a lofty statement, considering the high quantity of high quality sandwiches all across New Orleans, let alone at Cochon Butcher itself.
The butcher and sandwich shop doesn't reinvent the wheel with their take on the roast beef sandwich. They pile thinly-sliced, ruby-rare beef on an onion roll, accompanied by crisp arugula and paper-thin raw red onion. Both sides of the roll get dressed with light spreads of mildly spicy horseradish aioli and house-made mustard, made with Abita beer. The soft and airy roll perfectly houses all of the ingredients, hugging everything in a firm but loving embrace.
If you're in a hurry, the Cold Roast Beef most definitely works as a road sandwich, clean and portable. But if have the time to spare, and assuming you can find the table-space (the place fills up very quickly), then do yourself a kindness: Saddle up at one of the coveted high-top tables, plow through that mouthwatering roast beef with a side of hot boudin and an ice-cold Abita Amber to wash it all down, and watch as your bad mood melts away, one bite at a time. Even if you're eating alone, there's plenty of eye-candy to keep you occupied, thanks to the glass-counter butcher shop packed wall-to-wall with duck pastrami, jambalaya-stuffed chicken, crisp porchetta, and more.
Cochon Butcher is a wonderland for meat-lovers, the Willy Wonka Factory of delicious deli-meats, and for my money, the Cold Roast Beef is the golden-ticket. Go out and enjoy.