The Sandwich: Mozzarella & Strawberry

Where: Union Kitchen Grocery, 538 3rd St. NE

Cost: $9.09

Stuffings: Tomato, mozzarella, basil, arugula, strawberry, balsamic reduction

Bread: Onion roll

Thickness: 5 inches

Pros: Although it’s a relatively wet cheese, the creamy mozzarella remains solid enough to provide a sufficient base for the sandwich. Meanwhile, the sweet and tangy balsamic reduction pleasantly offsets the bitterness of the basil and arugula.

Cons: An out-of-season watery tomato slice and slightly sour strawberries upset the delicate flavor balance that makes a traditional caprese so good. Stacking the ingredients on a dry onion roll makes things even worse. The slightly stale, too-thick bread’s onion taste masks the rest of the ingredients. In addition, the entire sandwich could use a sprinkle of salt.

Sloppiness level (1 to 5): 2. The sponge-like bread soaks up the moisture for the wet ingredients, so there’s not too much mess.

Overall score (1 to 5): 1. What could be an interesting spin on the traditional tomato-basil-mozzarella offering falls flat. With a lighter bread and a better quality strawberry and tomato, there’s a chance this mash-up could get better in peak-produce season. Until then, abstain.

Photo by Jessica Sidman