Two new sandwiches caught my eye this week as I walked by The Golden West: avocado, artichoke, tomato, and mint (four of my favorite things!) and a version of the divine Nicoise salad between bread. I haven't been out to lunch in ages, and I was bored by the idea of my salad, so post-2 p.m. I hightailed it out.
Tragically, considering what a special occasion this was, the avo and artichoke was sold out, as was the Nicoise. Determined, I marched over to The Sentinel, which highly satisfied with the last remaining tuna sandwich of the day.
Like the tony tuna salad at Bar Jules, this salad leaned on peppers, not mayo, for flavor, mixing them in with other Nicoise ingredients like egg and olive. It was garnished with the usual blessedly fresh butter lettuce and a few green beans, which were a nice crunch; could have used more, in fact. But all in all, yesterday The Sentinel was looking out for me.
I've never had a bad sandwich at The Sentinel, but I've complained about the place, mostly because I think it's overhyped. As a sandwich lover and a fan of Denis Leary's restaurant, Canteen, I really want to love his sandwiches: a daily-changing menu of homemade, sustainable ingredients on fresh-baked bread.
On my first three visits, I've been disappointed by the haphazard construction, which to me is one of the most important factors of sandwich-making. Though I know the lunch rush is very busy, the sandwiches felt thrown together, which seems unacceptable for a place that always ends up on lists of the city's best sandwiches. I judge it by higher standards, but I keep giving The Sentinel a chance. On my last visit, I was very impressed. Find out why.
Niman Ranch. Marin Sun Farms. "House cured." The vocabulary of high-end restaurant menus is finding its way between the bread. It's a sustainable sandwich revolution, in which sandwich boards sound bourgier and panini get pricier, but for a good cause.
The classic American sandwich fillings — plasticine cheese, mass-produced cold cuts, and corn syrup condiments like Marshmallow Fluff — are neither sustainable nor particularly healthy. But why force fast-food philosophy on something so simple to make? A new wave of sandwich shops are slowing down, making their own ingredients, and finding local suppliers to construct better-for-you and better tasting sammies.
Given, it's mostly a West Coast phenomenon so far, but the model works everywhere from East Coast delis to mini chain restaurants. Find out where to get your fix.
February 14, 2010 3:08 pm · Posted by nancita
Sandwiches have "come a long way, baby," and the San Francisco Chronicle is on the case! While I was away, the local paper unveiled "The Building Blocks of a Great Sandwich," speaking with Bay Area chefs and sandwich makers about what makes a sandwich magical.
Rather predictable but with good recommendations, the article features Dennis Leary, chef at Canteen and the (I think overrated) Sentinel, who says bread is "the most important part of a good sandwich." Certainly, the Sentinel does bread very well. His other tips include not shying away from shortcuts like jarred roasted peppers and canned artichokes. Chef Maggie Pond at César in Berkeley advises that your toppings should be evenly distributed: "There should be no bites of just bread."
The Chron suggests several sandwich spots, including Bakesale Betty, Fish in Sausalito, Kitchenette in Dogpatch, and Il Cane Roso, all of which are on my Sand Wish List. It also mentions American Box, which is attached to Fish and Farm, a fine dining joint in the 'loin that I loved. I'll be sure to try them all and report back; let me know if you have any recs.
In a new article lovingly titled "Simple Acts of Sandwich Genius," Food & Wine magazine recognizes five sandwich-loving chefs who are elevating the sandwich to new elegance.
Though I'm a little miffed that I was overlooked (just kidding! sort of), I am drooling over the Oregon tuna melts from Bunk Sandwiches in Portland and Rick Bayless's black bean and chorizo tortas.
However, I find the inclusion of The Sentinel questionable. I love chef Dennis Leary's restaurant, Canteen, but his gourmet sandwich shop in SF continues to disappoint me. Just because a chef has great ideas doesn't mean those ideas translate well between the bread. But I will reserve full judgement until I taste the focaccia Reuben.
"The Sentinel has a sandwich with figs on it today!" a coworker alerted me on Tuesday morning. I love figs, and I love sandwiches, so I hightailed it over to the SF sandwich shop founded by local chef Dennis Leary. This was my third time trying The Sentinel's sandwiches, but I was still somewhat disappointed. Why? because this sandwich was sweetened with fig spread. The menu promised fresh figs!