What's inside that roll tastes really, really good.

What: The soft-shell crab po’ boy sandwich

Where: The Southern Belle Café, 35400 Date Palm Drive, Cathedral City

How much: $15

Contact: 442-615-0344; www.southernbellecafecc.com

Why: Fresh Maryland soft-shell crab is awesome.

When I saw that Cathedral City’s Southern Belle Café was featuring a soft-shell crab po’ boy sandwich on its menu, I instantly knew I needed one.

There are few things better in this world than a well-made po’ boy sandwich. The melding of high-quality seafood—lovingly breaded and fried—with cool, crisp vegetables (butter lettuce, tomato and pickles) and a tangy remoulade … just the thought makes my mouth water.

After I ordered the sandwich on my recent lunch visit to the Southern Belle Café, I attempted to get my expectations in check. It’s no fun to build up something in one’s mind, and then suffer from disappointment, after all. Well, it turns out I didn’t need to temper my expectations: The po’ boy was every bit as good as I’d hoped it would be. The Maryland soft-shell crab was, of course, the highlight, but every part of the sandwich was perfection. The accompanying fries were hot, crisp and nicely seasoned.

All in all, it was a delightful lunch. The service was quite good, and the décor has some nice touches, such as a faux brick wall covered with various old-timey signs. However, don’t be surprised if you’re sitting next to various food-service or pantry items; apparently, storage space is at a premium in the small strip-mall space.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the hush puppies, which we ordered as an appetizer, were splendid—and that the peach cobbler, which I ordered for dessert, was even better.

This po’ boy experience left me eager to try out more of the Southern Belle Café’s offerings. Breakfast items include a Louisiana grits bowl, a Cajun omelet and more-standard fare; lunch items include various burgers and sandwiches, salads, Cajun blackened catfish, gator bites, hickory smoked pork ribs, gumbo shrimp etouffee and jambalaya.

Dang it. My mouth is starting to water again …

Avatar photo

Jimmy Boegle

Jimmy Boegle is the founding editor and publisher of the Coachella Valley Independent. He is also the executive editor and publisher of the Reno News & Review in Reno, Nev. A native of Reno, the Dodgers...