923 Decatur Street
New Orleans, LA 70116
Central Grocery is the Sarcone's of muffuletta. This place has been around forever, and they are definitely a touristy type of place. But I have to say, their sandwich is pretty damn spectacular.
I had literally just come from lunch, so I couldn't tackle a whole (I had already eaten dinner AND had my late night foray into snacking planned); instead, I got the half. These beautiful creations sit inside the meat and cheese shop (much like Claudio's in the Italian Market), pre-made and just waiting for a new home. The room-temperature-wait lets the olive oil and olive salad just start to soften the bread, but this is in NO WAY soggy. It's just perfect.
One difference between this muff. and many of its competitors is that they use a hearty amount of provolone, instead of a weak-ass single slice. This lends a nutty, umami-rich flavor to this perfect snack. The bread is phenomenal, sporting a barely crunchy, sesame exterior with a hearty-yet-not-overly-malty, chewy middle.
The olive salad is another story. Why doesn't everyone put this on their hoagies. Well, I guess there are some versions of it up here, but the chunky olives, peppers, carrots, cauliflower, parsley and added love makes this stuff addicting.
I could eat this briny, salty, crunchy salad everyday. The muffuletta is another shining example of why New Orleans is one of the best places to eat anywhere. Easy, no-frills, and unpretentious, it's much like the city itself. Perfect.