Even though its been only two months since I have moved from DC there are a number of little things I already miss. Aside from my friends who I love dearly there are quite a few cultural differences that naturally arise when you live two thousand miles away.
One of these things is a dependable sandwich shop. I have quickly come to the realization that somewhere during the westward expansion the concept of a sandwich was lost. As I traveled west I distinctly remember having my last great sandwich in Chicago, anything afterwards was a utter joke.
Even though DC doesn't come close to competing with NYC or Philadelphia when it comes to the quantity of good sandwich shops it is leaps and bounds over the west coast. In DC most residents will claim that Taylor Gourmet serves the best subs. I will wager that this group has yet to try SUNdeVICH, which in my opinion gives them a run for their money.
Up until this year SUNdeVICH was unbeknownst to a majority of residents outside the Shaw/ Mt. Vernon neighborhood. I myself was unaware of its existence until I stumbled upon it on Yelp. I was even more shocked when I realized that it was within walking distance from my house. Towards my last couple of months their popularity quickly rose when they beat out the aforementioned Taylor Gourmet in a Washington Post poll. It was at this point that I made it a priority to give them a shot.
When I made my first visit I quickly realized why there were not well known. Hidden in the middle of an ally between N & O St. it is very easy to miss if you are casually walking down the street. I distinctly remember coming back from a run and stopping by on my way back. I initially walked passed it and had to turn around when I entered the actual address into my phone. Once I found it I entered and quickly scanned their chalkboard menu. I decided to order the Buenos Aires which consists of large chunks of steak and onions all on top of Chimichurri. For those who are unaware, Chimichurri is a fantastic steak sauce which originates from Argentina (surprise, surprise) which is known for cooking great steaks.
At the time there were no other customers so I decided on taking it home instead of eating alone inside an empty restaurant. Once I got home I let my voracious appetite take control while my mind drifted off. I only really remember being pleasantly surprised by both the quantity and quality of the steak I was given as well as the soft baguette it was served on. After that I made a note to go again after my Saturday football game on the National Mall.
After I did my best to imitate Tom Brady on the football field I decided to make good on my promise and quench my appetite with another one of these sandwiches. During my second visit it was empty yet again which was puzzling on a Saturday afternoon when people are out walking around.
Brushing that thought aside I quickly scanned their menu and noticed a sandwich that I did not remember seeing the first time. The Paris which consists of ham, gruyere cheese, tomato and dijon mustard on top of sunny side up eggs. To me this flavor combination sounds like heaven on a roll and I asked myself how I could have possibly overlooked it the first time. I then asked the server if it was a new item and she told me that it was a sandwich of the month that had recently been put on the menu permanently due to popular demand.
This time I didn't mind sitting alone in an empty restaurant, mainly because I was so tired and hungry. But after taking the first bite I regretted the decision out of shear embarrassment. Once my teeth broke the light seal on the eggs, thus exposing the yoke which interacted with the ham and gruyere. The assortment of ingredients produced a flavor orgy in my mouth which produced tears of joy that I wish I could replicate right now. After I devoured the sub I highly contemplated ordering another but instead exited the property post haste in order to prevent me from making a foolish yet genius decision.
My last visit came during one of my last days in DC. I remember it being a rainy week which was symbolic of my feelings at the time. I braved through the weather and ordered a Kingston which consists of jerk chicken, pineapple salsa, spicy slaw and garlic mayo. To continue with the dreary theme the sandwich was a huge letdown. While the flavor combination seemed like it would taste fantastic I was left asking myself what I should do with the other half.
Unfortunately I did not have enough time to sample any of their other sandwiches and give them a chance to redeem themselves. But I figured that two out of three is good enough for me. While I will not proclaim that they have dethroned Taylor Gourmet as the best sandwich spot in DC they have pulled a good fight. The quality of their ingredients and their culturally diverse menu allows them to be called a superb sub shop in my opinion and one worth your attention.