There’s a facebook group for New Orleanians to mourn the loss of things that have been lost to the ravages of time, hurricanes, and social change. It’s called Aint Dere No More. I’m not a member but I”m thinking about joining just to post about whats become of The Bridge Store. Sure, it’s still on Poland Ave right by the Saint Claude bridge, but it ain’t what it used to be.
Years ago I lived in the Holy Cross neighborhood in the lower 9th ward with what seemed like an endless horde of sweet and dirty street musicians. The kitchen was basically unusable so I would cross the industrial canal and head over to the Bridge Store (officially called True Cajun Seafood) almost every day for lunch. You could get a 2 item plate for $4.49 and they’d still fill up the white-box like they do for 3 items. You could get chicken or beef pho, and it wasn’t the best pho in town but it was pretty good and really cheap. Same for the banh mi sandwiches. Sure, the lady who worked there wasn’t very nice to me, but I kind of liked that – just cause I’m spending money somewhere doesn’t mean I expect someone to kiss my ass. The one thing I’d never do was order pho to go, because for some reason she absolutely hated that. They have two cute little tables in there and it was worth eating there because a sweet Vietnamese grandma would come and bring you the bowl and give you a big smile.
They don’t serve pho anymore, which is a crying shame. The hot plates are still there, and magically haven’t gone up in price. There isn’t a huge variety of foods to choose from, and they won’t fill up the white-box with just 2 items, but it’s still worth trying if you’re in the neighborhood. The grilled pork chops are delicious and come with some green peppers and onion. I always used to get the pork chops and picnic on the levee with my dog. If she was good she got the bones after I was done.
I always get the chicken and broccoli. It’s got a variety of vegetables, the broccoli isn’t too hard or too soft, and its all in a slightly clear chinese style sauce. The lo mein is made with spaghetti noodles and is sometimes a little saltier than I’d like, but is still one of my go-to items. We also tried the spaghetti square (sometimes called “lasagna” in New Orleans) and it was perfect comfort food on a rainy day. Like moms spaghetti and meatballs. Things we didnt get, but that they offer, are fried chicken, egg rolls, baked chicken, and green beans.
The banh mi was alright. It was actually better than I remember because it had a bunch of different kinds of meat, and they really didn’t skimp on the vegetables. There used to be hoisin sauce and sriracha out on the table for you to season your sandwich with but now you have to ask for it. Without some sauce it might have been a little dry. I think the banh mi cost about $3.50 and is worth getting.
I wanted to give this place a better review because it used to really do right by me. It’s still worth going to, especially if you’re taking your dog to the levee or are doing some business at the Poland Ave post office. I guess this is what happens when you don’t support your special local corner store – they can’t serve you pho anymore.