Many people find different ways to celebrate on this glorious day and some readers likely have no idea what I'm talking about. And that's OK too. Filled with nostalgia over an earlier version of myself, I decided that I would celebrate by going down to Kenny and Zuke's Sandwich Works, their new sandwich shop in NW for a sandwich.
Now just to clarify the title of this blog post to readers out of the loop, Bunk Sandwiches is another high quality sandwich shop in Portland that opened a few months ago. I quickly became obsessed with Bunk due to the amazingly rich, well crafted sandwiches they sell despite the fact that the name may or may not coincide with something I may or may not have bought outside of a Trey Anastasio Band concert in St. Louis in 2000. I was going to Bunk a minimum of once a week (pre-diet) and became very comfortable with their menu and offerings. Therefore, they set the gold standard for me as far as Portland craft sandwiches are concerned. Much to my excitement, (and dismay since I am on a diet) when I got home I heard about Kenny and Zuke's opening a new sandwich shop. Their flagship restaurant is a New York style deli with a Portland edge that serves the best food of its kind from hand cut pastrami and corned beef to omelets to latkes and lox bagels (1038 SW Stark St). I've never had a bad experience there except for this one time when a girl said she was going to take me and my girlfriend out to brunch for staying at our place and then mysteriously lost her wallet. She also mysteriously ordered like three entrees. The food was still satisfying though.
Anyways for the past month I have been fiending Sandwich Works and today was my opportunity to go. When we arrived there were some good signs. It was 1:30, so the rush had passed and we had the place to ourselves. Also, they were playing "Black River Killer"by Blitzen Trapper, so that was an added bonus. When it came time to order I was stuck between the Chicago Style Italian Beef and the Super Torta Puebla, although their menu has several options I am interested in trying. The combination of in-house made hand sliced beef, homemade giardiniera, and fresh bread pushed me over the edge for the Italian Beef, plus it was what I really had in mind when I went there. When it arrived it looked great. But, when I took that first bite... it was OK... It was a good sandwich, but for some reason I had expected so much more. Between the great meals I have had at K&Zs and the bar set by Bunk, I was disappointed. Maybe I was setting myself up for disappointment by thinking it would be so intense. It did not have the richness that I had been anticipating. It was a decent sandwich though. My girlfriend also tried it and thought it was OK and she rarely eats meat. She had the Hood River which was average, but to be expected from a turkey sandwich. She prefer ed the chicken with garlic con fit available for $6 at the new food cart by PSU, The Portland Soup Company (SW 4th and SW Hall), although they are totally different sandwiches. They both were served with a pickle spear made at K&Z's flagship. This was actually my favorite part of the meal. After my meal I walked away shell shocked, wishing I had ordered the Torta.
Now, I realize that this is only one sandwich. I realize that my expectation of feeling high like the hippies I saw on Mt. Tabor today, slightly after quarter after four from an Italian Beef may have been unrealistic. I also realize that every place has an off day and somethings I just will not like. This is not something I can use as a basis for judging K & Z Sandwich Works as a whole. There are several things at Bunk Sandwiches that I find mediocre. I also have been to Bunk ten plus times. There are things there that I dislike that others love. This is likely the case with Sandwich Works. I will definitely be going back, as I have unfinished business there. I will not be able to get as large of a sample size now, as I as my diet just does not have room for the calories that I would like to be consuming. So, eventually, I will get to try more of these sandwiches, with the Torta next on deck. Hopefully I will be able to recruit a partner to go halvsies on two of these calorie bombs. I still have faith in you K&Z's! But, if you are looking for a Chicago Style Italian Beef, I recommend going to Michael's on East Burnside(1111 SE Sandy Blvd). They do up some serious, rich, Italian Beef. Until next time, think of me while you are eating some quality sandwiches. (Below: Italian Beef from Kenny & Zuke's Sandwich Works)
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