Anyone on a diet, and especially those committed to health-conscious eating: Stop reading this article.

Only five months old, Poorboy’s Cajun Chicken in Santa Clara brings a blast of bayou cuisine and fried favorites to Silicon Valley. Though the restaurant’s name may imply a poultry emphasis, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Poorboy’s offers up just about every type of mud crawler and mussel that America produces—from catfish and crayfish to oysters—all served in a spicy Cajun style. Meals are presented in large tin dog bowls and utensils are minimal; only forks, spoons and industrial deli style latex gloves are provided for the greasy feast.

A major feature of Poorboy’s is the ability to order every type of dish in any number of ways. If one is seeking a sandwich—a Po’boy to be specific—the choices of filling range from fried oyster and soft shell crab to grilled Andouille sausage. This extends to fry baskets, salads and more.

Besides their rather extensive selection of Po’boy sandwiches, Poorboy’s Cajun Chicken also offers things like jambalaya and lobster bisque, as well as the typical French fry/chicken wing American fare.

The centerpiece of the menu, however, is the Seafood Boil. Served with choices such as squid or Maine lobster, with three types of spicing, the smorgasbords are like the stone soups of southern seafood. Served by the pound, the grand course also includes two pieces of corn and sausage.

Ironically, the chicken dishes were probably the weakest on the menu. The popcorn chicken a la carte was overcooked and too chewy. This trend extends to their namesake, at least in the chicken and shrimp Po’boys. While retaining the foundations of what constitutes a Po’boy sandwich—basically a meat- or seafood-filled crispy baguette with slaw—the flavors of Poorboy’s  chicken and shrimp renditions melted into a singular taste.

The standout dish I tried was the Cajun egg rolls. A subversion of the typical Asian style wrap, Poorboy’s Cajun rolls are a crispy, seasoned union of pork and vegetables served with a side of mustard sauce. Not unlike any other type of egg or vegetable roll, the Cajun roll is enhanced by its over-the-top crunchiness.

While their trademark sandwiches lack a certain wow-factor, Poorboy’s Cajun Chicken is a refreshing option in a sea of health-oriented fracas. It’s no oceanside shop in Baltimore, but Poorboy’s Cajun Chicken is a delicious, stomach-filling and even exotic journey into another, not so glamorized side of American cuisine. —Tad Malone

Poorboy’s Cajun Chicken
2605 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara.