Reading Terminal Market
12th and Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 592-0505 Website
I was very excited when I heard there was a Cajun place coming to RTM. Although I was worried for them. Could it really be that I wouldn't have to drive to Delco any longer for good Cajun food. Well, the answer is yes and no. Yes you don't need to drive to Boothes Corner market for a Cajun food stand any longer, but you would be foolish not to (I only did because I was craving a Po'boy on a Sunday and Cajun Kate's, the holy grail of Cajun in the Philadelphia area, was not open.
Reading Terminal Market has a surplus of good foodstands. And there are also a surplus of mediocre stands as well. Cue Beck's. I started with an order of Cajun Fries. They are described as Louisiana spiced and served with jalapeno's, green peppers and onions. The were actually wedges, and sad at that. Even the small ones were not crispy, and the overly softened vegetables made no sense. It was a soggy boat of greasy, disappointment. I ate less than a third of them.
I should have known from the start, when the woman working the counter was unable to discern the difference between diet and regular soda, I had to explain three times, eventually pulling out the menu to point to the creole mayo, when asking for extra on the side. Strike two.
The shrimp Po'boy was okay. The shrimp were crispy, but the pickles were sliced too thin, and the tomato was chewy. I understand that tomatoes are generally gross right now, but why do people insist on serving something that is not good. Anyway, the Creole mayo was pretty solid. The one big issue I had with the sandwich was the bread. It would have been great on an Italian hoagie, but as for my Po'boy, I like them on a light and fluffy french roll. These things were pretty solid, and at times I used two hands to rip the bread off with my teeth. The shrimp were hitting the eject button at that point, and things were sliding all over the place. Now, the Catfish Po'boy.
The ingredients were exactly the same as the shrimp, but that was one thing I just could not shake. The catfish was...fishy. Really fishy. I don't know why, but it was although it was handled with fishy hands after the deep frier. The breading was good, crispy and crunchy, but I just don't feel as though fried catfish should ever take that weird fishy flavor. It was even too overpowering for the Crystal hotsauce to cut through. Strike three. So...I had originally felt I would stop here for a quick Po'boy fix, but in retrospect, I would rather wait until Cajun Kate's is open on the weekends. There is literally no contest.
(More catfish shots above and shrimp below).