The Seattle food community was quite abuzz last week with the announcement that Vancouver’s Meat & Bread is opening shop in Capitol Hill. Oh, it’s a great place, though given our wealth of sandwich stops in Seattle, I’d gladly trade it for one of many excellent Chinese restaurants in Richmond. Since that’s not likely, the announcement’s got me thinking about some recent meat on bread meals I’ve had around town lately.
Martino’s is one of the aforementioned sandwich stops. The meat is all smoked in-house, with the sandwiches served on Macrina bread. The Santa Maria tri tip sandwich ($10.50) gets the most acclaimed, so I gave it a “tri.” The smoky flavor was impressive, but the meat was a little on the dry side. And while I liked the flavor of the roasted poblano salsa with chimichurri, I wanted a smear of something to make the sandwich more moist. (Or maybe just moister meat?) The side of black beans was great, with flavors popping from house bacon and bbq sauce, plus more poblanos.
Next up is perhaps my favorite meat on bread: the hamburger. I recently ate a trio of them, starting at Red Cow, which is one of Ethan Stowell’s newer restaurants. Predictably, there’s a lot of beef at Red Cow. Fortunately, the beef flavor shines through in the burger ($16), which comes with white cheddar, bacon, and sweet onion. There are fries with that, as you’d predict from a place that bills itself as a steak frites joint. (More photos from Red Cow below.)
I’d long craved a chance to try Revel’s kalbi burger, so I pounced on an opportunity while at Quoin, the adjacent bar, which serves just 10 burgers per happy hour ($7). There’s intense flavor from the short rib in the six-ounce patty, with aioli adding fat and flavor. It’s a nice accompaniment to a drink, though I must say that I was disappointed with the Korean pancake ($7) and the kimchi ramen ($7, also with only 10 portions per happy hour), both of which have dropped in quality. I hope this was an off-night, and not a sign that things are slipping as Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi’s restaurant empire grows.
For my final burger, I made a first trip to Loulay, Thierry Rautureau’s new downtown restaurant. The dining room is impressive, though I sat solo at the counter to stare instead into the kitchen. The burger ($14) was cooked exactly as requested and was extremely juicy, holding up well on the brioche bun. Aioli and bacon jam provided flavorful lubrication, as did the Gruyère de Comté cheese I added for one dollar. (If you have deep pockets, you can double my burger price and add foie gras for $15.) The fries that came with the burger were fantastic.
If we define bread broadly, then I can include some antojitos I enjoyed at Taqueria la Estacion in Burien. Burien, you ask? I was doing an airport run, and I’d heard good things about this taqueria, which worked in well with some shopping I wanted to do for Mexican groceries. I ordered my favorite tacos ($1.25 each): lengua (tongue) and cabeza (head). But I also wanted to try al pastor (spit-roasted pork, in its most basic definition) and birria (goat), so I got these in mulita ($2.89) and gordita ($3.15) form. The workers there were quite nice, offering me some lamb consommé in addition to the usual basket of chips that comes with two types of salsa. Everything was delicious, and I look forward to exploring more of the menu in the future.
Getting even more liberal with the sandwich definition, I recently tried the O.G. (Original Gangster, $9) latke sandwich at the new Napkin Friends food truck while it was parked in Queen Anne. Pre-cooked potato pancakes are the “bread,” which crisp up around the pastrami in a panini press. The sandwich comes with arugula, along with Mama Lil’s peppers, Thousand Island dressing, horseradish cream, and gruyere cheese all providing their respective pizzazz. My only beef: the O.G. is a little skimpy on the meat. (It’s far from the piled-on-thick pastrami you find at Roxy’s Diner, which has actually had a latke sandwich on its breakfast menu for some time.) As a result, the potato flavor starts to dominate the sandwich, which may be what a latke-lover likes about it.
Actually, I’ve never shown what I’ve eaten at Vancouver’s Meat & Bread. Porchetta sandwich with salsa verede is the constant, with a few other sandwiches a day. Will be interesting to see if they keep the sandwich at $8.
And now, as promised, more from Red Cow: