In my search for New Orleans’ best muffuletta, I can now cross off another entrant: Napoleon House.
I stopped by this French Quarter establishment for lunch in mid-February. It was a bit before the noon hour, so the rush hadn’t hit, but as a single diner, I decided to eat at the bar.
The historic restaurant is located at the corner of St. Louis and Chartres street, just two blocks from Jackson Square and on a diagonal from the Louisiana Supreme Court building. With a front door that sits on the corner, you can watch a lot of the world walk by on a pleasant New Orleans day, and the French Quarter location makes geting there very easy for those out seeing the sights.
Having stated my desire to find the city’s best muffuleta, two fellow bloggers recommended I try Napoleon House. My quest to find the best may take a lifetime. There are two iconic sandwiches in New Orleans — the po’ boy and the muffuletta — so there are dozens, if not hundreds, of restaurants that offer one or both.
For the uninitiated, a traditional muffuletta is Sicilian sandwich featuring salami, mortadella, ham, plus mozzarella and provolone cheeses, all topped with a (green) olive salad. It gets its name from the type of bread it is served on, which is round sesame bread. The loaf — and thus, the sandwich — is quite large, so it is often ordered in halves or quarters. If you order a whole sandwich, you’d better be really hungry or brought a friend or two with you!
I ordered a half sandwich at Napoleon House, and that was plenty for me. However, bigger eaters may want to order something extra, since it came with just a pickle.
This sandwich was served warm, while many other versions are not. The bread was OK — not really dry, but it was thick enough that it added a lot of bulk to the sandwich without really adding a lot of great flavor. The meats were good, although not overloaded. The cheese was melted and tasty. The olive salad spread had a nice tang to it and wasn’t overly oily, which can happen with some muffulettas.
From my tastings, Cochon Butcher in the CBD (930 Tchoupitoulas St.) remains the NOLA muffuletta champion. They cure their own meats, and the sandwich had a much more robust flavor. Plus they have a whole host of original and varied side dishes. For my full review of CB’s muffuletta, see this post.
And I’d pick the original version at Central Grocery, 923 Decatur St., over the sandwich at Napoleon House. Central Grocery’s version is overflowing with meat, and the olive salad is very flavorful — if a bit too oily.
Overall, the Napoleon House muffuletta was OK — better than eating at Subway, but that’s pretty faint praise.
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Here are some other useful links on NOLA’s muffulettas:
Another list of NOLA’s five best muffulettas.
GoNola’s take on muffulettas, including the mini muffulettas at Rouses Supermarket.
Another list of six NOLA area restaurants offering the muffuletta.
Is it muffuletta or muffaletta? Good advice: Go with the spelling used by the original.
A recipe for a muffuletta.
And finally, here’s a YouTube video of what looks like a darn tasty sandwich: