Friday, December 19, 2008
Ahhh the hunky, bald genius that is Tom Colicchio. He and Padma make me look forward to every episode of Top Chef. It just would not be the same without their clever little back-and-forth quips each week. I am someone who loves sandwiches, especially pressed, hot ones, that are smothered in interesting spreads and sauces... pestos, aiolis, it's all good. These past four months, I have had no fewer than 5 sandwiches per week. Hey, they are portable, delicious, and always a good balance of carbs and protein.
This is why I was super ecstatic that Colicchio had opened a 'wichcraft here in SF, just a few blocks away from us. Mr.S took me to see what it was all about, since he had gone by himself once, and was shockingly disappointed, and wanted to get my opinion. The menu reads like a farmers market lover's dream, all types of veggies, smoked meats, delicate spreads and rustic breads. There seemed to be a great amount of potential here for success. There are cool and warm sandwiches, breakfast foods served all day, salads and soups, and brownies and cookies. And to boot, the interior design at 'wichcraft is clean and streamlined, modern whites and brushed stainless steel.
My sandwich was filled with plump, marinated white anchovies, a soft cooked egg, roasted onion, salsa verde, and frisee greens. Does that not sound slightly off? Salsa verde? Well it sure wasn't a light and fresh green salsa. It was much more like an overly greasy pistou, made with way too much olive oil, which soaked into the bread, turning it into an oily mess. The anchovies and egg were gorgeous, but that was really the extent of it. The roasted onions were not soft and caramelized, but rather, fried to a stringy toughness, altogether unpleasant. Frisee is usually hit or miss as it is, it's good sometimes, but it just does not belong in a sandwich, it being tough and extremely bitter. All in all, this was not a hit with me.
Mr.S ordered the grilled cheddar, with smoked ham and pear and mustard. It could very likely have been a large sandwich, but after being pressed, it arrived at our table, looking very anemic and flat. I skipped taking a picture of it, because it just looked plain pathetic.
Taking a second look through the menu, I realize that many of the combinations are just off. Perhaps in theory they work together, but reality proves that hmmm... maybe not.
I did end my meal on a high note.
The house-made peanut butter 'creamwich was out of this world. It was a large soft sandwich cookie, with chunks of peanuts, crispy edges, and filled with a smooth peanut butter ganache spread that I would probably eat by the spoonful. And it was only $1.
I really had high expectations for 'wichcraft, since I'd heard from friends who have eaten at Craftsteak and Craftbar of how fabulous the food is, and how on point the service is. I feel like 'wichcraft could do much better if it simply just pared down their sandwiches to 3-4 ingredients, rather than trying to use 5-6 different complex ingredients that perhaps do not complement one another successfully. In the end, 'wichcraft did not wow me, and I would have to say given the choice, I would not go back, but rather go next door to the fantastic food court at Westfield...