Where do I eat sandwiches? There's a few places that are really good, and it seems like more restaurants are opening with the premise of local and slow sandwiches. The Willamette Week issue of January 14th, in an article about new sandwich places, mentions 'former El Gaucho chef Michael McFarlane will open Petisco, a sandwich joint, in the near future.' El Gaucho is a terrible restaurant. They have $80 steaks, and yet the salads are made with iceberg lettuce and ranch dip dressing. An old school fancy place. And yet this seems like a story, possibly, of a good chef wanting the freedom to do his own thing with an honest and low key sandwich place. Bunk Sandwiches is all about that. Tommy Habetz was the chef at a few good restaurants, now he's running his own place. Everything is very rich and oily. I watched a sous chef reheat some brussels sprouts on the grill and then, after he plated, carefully pour an ounce of butter over them. Everything is delicious. I've had pork belly, sauerkraut, russian dressing and gruyere on a toasted kaiser roll; medium rare meatballs (these were delicious) and spaghetti sauce on a toasted hoagie with cheese; salted cod spread, chorizo slices, and olives on focaccia.
Little T Bakery is just down the street from me. The bread is really good. They only make a few sandwiches. I've had bacon, egg, and cheese on thick slices of toasted white bread; ham, salami, gruyere, and spicy pickles on a heavenly mini baguette. I usually get a little side salad, and the greens right now are thick, small, crisp, and intense winter greens like kale, chard, and mustard.
Meat Cheese Bread is a really, really great little place. They make their own bread, most of the food is local, they don't put everything in the panini press. I've only been there once, and got the flank steak, pickled onion, blue cheese sandwich called 'park kitchen'. It came on a carrot and polenta foccacia. The small amount of corn grit gave some nice texture and a bit of sweetness. They're serving greens from the same farm as Little T.
Toast bakes one type of bread, a very fluffy white loaf. It is almost always toasted, of course. They have really good breakfast sanwiches but I haven't been for lunch.
Evoe is in the same space as the Pastaworks on Hawthorne. The design of the space is very minimal and clean, as are the sandwiches. They are all open faced on a single slice of bread. Yesterday I had the Highland: rare roast beef, horseradish, bread toasted with olive oil, and a poached egg with pepper. I don't think any sandwich has more then 3 ingredients, sometimes less. Others are pate and frisee; salami, roasted peppers, and manchego cheese; procuitto and asiago. I'm not sure whether an open faced sandwich is an insult to the idea of sandwich or an homage to it's genius. You can't pick it up and hold it and the bread is difficult to cut with a knife, so it's sort of like a medieval trencher, a sop to save the juices of the meal.