The Sandwich: The Chinatown
Where: Beef ’n Bread, 750 6th St. NW
Bread: Toasted sesame roll
Stuffings: Rare roast beef, avocado, cilantro, basil, lettuce, tomato, sprouts, sriracha, hoisin sauce, housemade jalapeño sauce
Thickness: 5 inches
Pros: This new restaurant from the owner of Wiseguys, which models its offerings on the rare roast beef sandwiches popular in Boston and on Massachusetts’ North Shore, nails its namesake ingredient. Sliced tissue thin with a bright shade of pink, the beef remains juicy and just chewy enough to release its flavor. Combining three sauces on top of the beef gives the sandwich a sour and spicy flavor that unfortunately doesn’t carry through every bite.
Cons: In addition to needing a heavy dose of salt, the sandwich suffers from vegetable overload. The shredded iceberg and sprouts, both of which are waterlogged, dull the tang that comes from the basil and cilantro. Instead of adding a buttery creaminess, the mushy avocado lacks flavor and oozes out of the bun onto the plate.
Sloppiness level (1 to 5): 4. Again, the vegetables contribute most to the Chinatown’s messiness. Avocado, lettuce, and basil leaves escape the sandwich’s back end, and the slightly smaller bottom bun leaves you with uneven bites as you eat. Part of this problem could be alleviated if the sandwich was assembled with heavier ingredients on the bottom, as the construction issues contribute to the mess.
Overall score (1 to 5): 3. The lean, rich beef starts the sandwich off on the right track, but the complicated heap of toppings turns it into a sloppy mess. The next time you head to Beef ’n Bread, opt for one of the simpler sandwiches and just enjoy the meat. —Caroline Jones