Photo by Caroline Jones
Photo by Caroline Jones

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The Sandwich: Crispy Eggplant & Mozzarella

Where: All Purpose Pizzeria, 1250 9th St. NW

Price: $14

Stuffings: Crispy fried eggplant, mozzarella, tomato sauce, Sicilian tartar sauce, basil

Bread: White sandwich roll

Thickness: 3 inches

Pros: Based on the ingredient list, you’d expect this sandwich to be as heavy as your average eggplant parm—especially with the addition of two different sauces. But it’s not. A traditional tomato sauce adds sweetness and tang while a creamy tartar sauce lends salty richness. Both make the sandwich more flavorful. A sprinkle of basil gives each bite a dose of freshness.

Cons: The eggplant in the first half of the sandwich feels crisp and almost beefy when you bite into it. However, if you linger too long eating the other half, its contents become mushy and the crust starts to slide off the vegetable, as does the mozzarella.

Sloppiness level (1 to 5): 3. The hot mozzarella oozes out of the sandwich and leaves globs of cheese on your plate and dangling from your lips. Double saucing also makes this sandwich quite juicy. Cover your lap with a napkin, and don’t dare wear white.

Overall score (1 to 5): 4. The early bites of this sandwich make you think of a refined eggplant parm that tastes vegetal and fresh, not canned. Its quality decreases as it cools, but if you seek a rich vegetarian sandwich, this one hits the spot.