Critics’ choice: Sandwiches from the minds of great chefs
Turkey and the Wolf New Orleans
In a city that’s had a long love affair with “gloriously ungainly” sandwiches, a new master has emerged, said Bill Addison in Eater.com. Mason Hereford, formerly the chef de cuisine at acclaimed Coquette, “brings a certain Dr. Frankenstein glee to every dish he makes,” yet invests an artist’s attentiveness in textures and flavors. Clever cocktails and raucous salads are always among the options when you stop in at Turkey and the Wolf, a quirkycasual space that combines industrial minimalism and 1950s kitsch. Sandwiches are king, though, and the stunners include stewed lamb’s neck on roti and a “collard greens melt” heaped with slaw, pickled cherry peppers, and Swiss cheese. Even so, the “undisputed star” is a chicken-fried steak sandwich that’s destined to join the New Orleans pantheon alongside the po’ boy and muffuletta. Hereford pounds New York strip steak “to linen-napkin thinness,” batters it, fries it to crackling crispness, then layers the meat on three bread slices with coleslaw, pickles, and slicks of pepper jelly and a spicy mayo. Though “Olympian in its excess,” the sandwich “somehow furthers the notion of balance in the universe.” 739 Jackson Ave., (504) 218-7428
Stacked Portland, Ore.
What do you do after you’ve earned a culinary degree and cooked at the peer- less Noma in Copenhagen? asked Michael Russell in the Portland Oregonian. Gabriel Pascuzzi is, in truth, only the latest pedigreed Portland chef to take up the simple science of sandwich making. But he’s kicked the whole game up a notch. A few of his ambitious creations—like the open-faced bison tartare with egg-yolk caramel—“look better on Instagram than they actually taste.” But I’d understand if people said his turkey Reuben and polpetta are the finest sandwiches in town, and they’re not even my favorites. Splurge instead on pesto-rubbed roast lamb with arugula, pickled onions, Calabrian chile, tomato, and a pesto-chèvre spread, or on the braised-oxtail French dip. “Yes, it’s $13.” But the price is justified by the expertly braised meat, cremini mushrooms, agrodolce, and melted havarti. “It would be great without its rosemary- steeped jus. With it, this is probably Portland’s best new sandwich.” 1643 S.E. 3rd Ave., (971) 279-2731
Smoked and Stacked Washington, D.C.
Any time of day is the right time for pastrami at Smoked and Stacked, said Tom Sietsema in The Washington Post. And why not, when Top Chef alum Marjorie Meek-Bradley is overseeing the brining, smoking, and steaming? Each brisket spends two weeks or so in a bath of cloves, coriander, garlic, allspice, and brown sugar before a dry rub and trip to the smoker. “What emerges from the kitchen is rousingly flavored meat: pastrami as it should be,” and you can have it earliest in the day in a breakfast sandwich that pairs the cured meat with a perfectly fried egg, nutty melted Comté cheese, and pepper jelly, all on a sea salt–sprinkled bun. It’s D.C.’s new guilty pleasure. At lunch, you might like a platter of sliced brisket with Meek-Bradley’s addictive potato salad—“the savory equivalent of a pint of Haagen-Dazs.” But the clock also says it might be time for the Messy, a riff on the Reuben that adds sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing to Comté and pastrami. As you might expect, “the inside is apt to gush outside as the sandwich is consumed.” 1239 9th St. NW, (202) 465-4822
Deb Lindsey/The Washington Post, Goran Kosanovic/The Washington Post ■