Photo by Caroline Jones
Photo by Caroline Jones

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The Sandwich: Tchoup’s Special

Where: Tchoup’s Market, 3301 Georgia Ave. NW

Price: $15

Stuffings: Fried catfish, celeriac remoulade, Crystal hot sauce, lettuce, tomato

Bread: White po’ boy bread from New Orleans’ Leidenheimer Baking Company

Thickness: 3.5 inches

Pros: Chef Alex McCoy’s Louisiana-inspired restaurant offers a plethora of savory sandwiches, but its namesake offering really captures the spirit of the Bayou. Breaded and fried catfish is soft and flaky inside but boasts a crisp and salty crust, tasting indulgent but not too heavy. A liberal dressing of Louisiana’s own vinegary Crystal hot sauce adds some sourness to the sandwich that otherwise tastes plain.

Cons: The celeriac remoulade, a traditional condiment served with this type of sandwich, has no taste. Something slightly bitter would give the sandwich an improved depth of flavor. Shredded iceberg lettuce is also material to this sort of sandwich, but since it comes in a heap it dulls the rest of the Tchoup’s Special.

Sloppiness level (1 to 5): 2. Flying in special po’ boy bread from Louisiana is the key to keeping this sandwich nearly free of mess because the pillowy roll perfectly contains the fillings. Some lettuce and a few pieces of delicate catfish might fall out, but just put them back in the roll and keep eating.

Overall score (1 to 5): 3.5. As a neighborhood bar and restaurant, Tchoup’s succeeds already, but its signature sandwich needs a bit more polish to justify its $15 price tag. Adding more flavor, whether in the form of a sauce or something pickled, would truly make this sandwich “special,” like it’s name.