Nancy Leson | Restaurants
Great sub shops on my radar
Hoping to fill up with more for less? Consider my hero — the sub sandwich. I went in search of a sub-stantial meal and found just that — and then some — at these local sandwich stops.
Seattle Times food and restaurant writer
Hoping to fill up with more for less? Consider my hero — the sub sandwich. Having been raised on Italian "hoagie" rolls, impassioned about French baguettes and turned on to banh mi sold at Vietnamese delis throughout Greater Seattle (the subject of another roundup, perhaps?), I went in search of a sub-stantial meal and found just that — and then some — at these local sandwich stops. Did I skip your favorite two-fister? Speak out on my blog: www.seattletimes.com/allyoucaneat.
1203 Pine St. (Capitol Hill), Seattle, 206-332-0220; 1626 N. 34th St. (Fremont), Seattle 206-632-1511; www.baguettebox.com
11 a.m.-8 p.m. daily (Capitol Hill), 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily (Fremont)
The inspiration for these jewel-box twins comes from Monsoon's creative genius Eric Banh, who took a good thing (the Frenchified sandwich of his native country) and made it better (by adding a carefully considered helping of fine ingredients to that classic Vietnamese sub). Next, he seconded the notion by expanding to Fremont, where the lipstick-red version of the more utilitarian Pike/Pine "Box" offers the same hot-selling sandwiches ($4.95-$7.50). There's Crispy Drunken Chicken — General Tso's on a roll, only better! And house-cured salmon gravlax moistened with glorious sauce gribiche. Meet your memorable meat (Salumi's artisan cures, lemongrass-marinated steak, slow-cooked Berkshire pork belly) or your vegan needs (grilled eggplant and zucchini, crisp tofu and avocado). Yes, you want truffle fries on the side, and a beer to better enjoy them.
Grinders Hot Sands
19811 Aurora Ave. N., Shoreline, 206-542-0627, www.grindersshoreline.com
11 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays
Mitch Gilbert is the hands behind the "sands" at this surprisingly elegant Shoreline cafe where beer and wine are part of the joy of dining in. My standing order has long been the Gilbano: tri-tip steak grilled with onions, garlic and spicy Mama Lil's Peppers. Layered with melted mozzarella and a hit of gorgonzola then sprinkled with fresh basil, it's caught between the crisp-crusted, soft-centered confines of a toasted Italian roll and served with a knife and fork — along with the promise "You'll never want a Philly again." It doesn't get much better than the Gilbano, says this Philly girl, though you may beg to differ after trying the BBQ pork grinder (a sweet mess with slaw on the side) or Mitch's popular SauBall (with its seriously garlicky marinara). As for the Creole-style catfish Po' Boy? It's the perfect accompaniment on "Hot Jam" Saturday nights, when there's a $7 cover for entry and food is served till 10 p.m.
4225 Fremont Ave. N. (Fremont), Seattle, 206-545-7440; 6226 Seaview Ave N.W. (Shilshole), Seattle, 206-789-3100
11 a. m.-9 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays(Fremont), 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays (Shilshole), Cash only
This month marks the Second Coming of Paseo — a take-out-only version of Lorenzo Lorenzo's insanely popular Caribbean sandwich shack. "Don't tell anyone!" said a friend who was sorry to find me standing across from Ray's Boathouse, where Paseo is already doing a booming business by the beach in the former Gordo's space. At the Fremont original, a dozen tiny tables are never room enough, and the lunchtime crowd fans out along the city sidewalk to scarf a moveable feast. Meanwhile, at Shilshole, there's an outdoor counter and picnic benches. At either, superior torpedo rolls come slathered with aioli, imprinted with pickled jalapenos and cilantro and stuffed with a mountain of thick-cut caramelized onions. (Can't get enough of the addictive allium? Order the Onion Obsession with the sainted bulb as a main course. Can't get home to Florida? Have the Midnight Cuban Press.) One could start a war asking, which is better, Paseo's 'legendary' grilled pork-loin sandwich, or (my choice) the Cuban Roast ($7.75), whose hunks of pork shoulder offers the tenderest of mercies? That said, I'd never turn down a roll rocking with garlicky sautéed prawns or "smokin'" with skin-on chicken thighs.
Tubs Gourmet Subs
11064 Lake City Way N.E. #16 (Lake City), 206-361-1621; 4400 168th St. #201 (Lynnwood), 425-741-9800; www.tubssubs.com
10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays
Twenty-five years ago, Subway spokesman Jared Fogel was still in kindergarten, the word "gourmet" had yet to fall out of favor as a descriptor and fans were already talking about the new sub shop in Lake City. Today Tubs "Gourmet" subs (choose from the 5-inch "mini," 7-inch "small" and 10-inch "large" — check the rule on the counter) sell at a clip at two locations, where even the mini ($5.25-$5.79) eats like a maxi ($8.75-$9.79). Along with the classics (meatball, turkey melt, French dip), there are crazy combos like the Tokyo Club (garlic-wasabi mayo, roast beef, avocado, bacon and provolone); cholesterol-raising Firecracker (chicken, bacon, jalapenos, Jack cheese, ranch dressing and mayo plus a heat-packing barbecue side-sauce for dipping) and this Jewish deli-lover's idea of a good time: pastrami and crisp coleslaw packed with a crisp kosher dill on a length of French roll. Yes, the layer cake on the counter looks like Duncan Hines and the ice-cream-parlor décor lends a certain je ne sais-1980, but with a Thomas Kemper Black Cherry soda and that pastrami in hand, you won't hear me complaining.
12631 N.E. Woodinville Drive., Woodinville, 425-806-72037:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays (and the occasional Saturday)
Need a two-fisted twisted with an espresso? What about all-you-can-eat French toast breakfast? Howzabout a Rice Krispies Treat for the kids — who've got their own pint-sized kiddie corner? Relax at a table for two, a community table set for six, or on a cozy chair reading the newspaper. Owner and surrogate "auntie" Jum Sandrin dishes out plenty of hugs and "How's your mom's?" along with soups, sandwiches and daily specials, greeting a line-up of regulars at her spacious, sunshine-y, decade-old breakfast-and-lunchery. She'll take your money, feed your soul and show the love as you wait for a mustard-y egg salad sandwich; a '70s-styled avocado-and-sprout-filled veggie deluxe; or a Reuben created with the house specialty: "twisted bread." Those sturdy house-baked rolls look and taste like the marriage of a challah and a pretzel, and I'll be back for another hefty club ($6.95) built with thick sliced deli-meat (turkey, ham), bacon and cheese.
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