In the depths of winter each year, when most of us are cradling yet another bowl of soup, the wizards at 'wichcraft somehow manage to debut a roster of sandwiches that make the best of the season's limited offerings. This time around, executive chef Mike Barbera has come up with three recipes offered as daily specials that borrow freely from a number of international influences while staying true to the chain's all-American roots. He's also bringing back their popular meatloaf sandwich, which features delightfully smoky bacon and a bread-soaking tomato relish. We tried the new additions and found much to talk about.
Roasted Pork Loin ($10.10, Served Tuesdays)
The pork in this sandwich is wonderfully moist and pull-apart tender with a faint hint of Chinese five-spice powder. Pear-almond butter adds a noticeable amount of sweetness that penetrates through the hefty slices of ciabatta, which is crusty but tender. A mound of shredded Brussels sprouts is billed as a slaw, but we didn't notice any dressing and found it to be a bit dry and papery. Overall, however, the flavor combo, which is finished off by bits of tart currant, is intriguing enough to warrant ordering it again.
Eggs Ranchero ($8.50, Served Saturdays and Sundays)
You might be turned off by scrambled egg patties that look like they're from McDonald's, but don't worry, they're much tastier—mildly flavored and creamy, not rubbery. They come on a bed of creamy black beans, creamier ripe avocado, queso fresco, and guajillo chili cream. (Getting a theme here?) This creaminess-four-ways comes on an airy ciabatta with a crackly crust, just enough textural contrast to the other ingredients. Is it especially spicy, bean-y, or eggy? No, but it's a clever take on huevos rancheros that we can get behind.
Roasted Chicken ($10.10, Served Wednesdays)
'wichcraft uses an excellent country white, which is sturdy, slightly buttery, and sliced to just the right thickness. Here, it holds a combination of roasted chicken breast, pesto, fresh mozzarella, and red pepper ragout. While each of the components is tasty on its own, somehow it just doesn't quite add up when put together. The red pepper is aggressively overwhelming, forcing the mozzarella and chicken to hide into the background, while the pesto fails to provide enough of a counterpoint. It's also a tad on the oily side, although the bread does an admirable job of absorbing all the overflow.
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