Photo by Caroline Jones
Photo by Caroline Jones

The Sandwich: Simit sandwich with olive tapenade

Where: Simit + Smith, 1077 Wisconsin Ave. NW

Price: $7.50

Stuffings: Kasseri cheese, olive tapenade, tomato, oregano

Bread: Original simit ring

Thickness: 1.5 inches

Pros: This Turkish-inspired shop, which operates several locations in New York and recently expanded to Georgetown, serves its sandwiches on traditional bread. The simit is a round, sesame bagel impersonator that’s more crunchy than doughy. Its nutty flavor balances the salty olive spread and cheese on the sandwich. Kasseri, a medium-hard sheep and goat’s milk cheese popular in Greece and Turkey, has just enough funk to stand out.

Cons: There’s little to critique about this light and refreshing vegetarian option, but if there’s one quibble, it would be that the sandwich is too simple. The olive tapenade, in paste form and spread thinly on the simit, lacks the acidity that makes Mediterranean olives so distinct. A thicker sauce with pieces of chopped olives would give the sandwich more punch and textural distinction.

Sloppiness level (1 to 5): 1. This sandwich yields very little mess even after a 20-minute bus ride with only a thin paper sleeve to protect it. Even the seeds stay affixed to the roll, something that can’t always be said for sesame bagels. A few pieces of the cheese will probably fall onto the plate, but because the sandwich doesn’t leak any goopy liquids, it’s easy to reassemble.

Overall score (1 to 5): 4.5. Despite containing only four ingredients, this sparse sandwich is proof positive that sometimes simple is best. Its crunchy exterior and subtly flavored fillings make each bite interesting, and the only thing that would improve it is a slightly more sour spread. Consider it fuel on your next shopping trip.