New sandwich and build-your-own salad place opened up in Palo Alto so we took a shot at it. Gourmet, say the reviews.
Eh, maybe, but my wife and I found that Sprout thought it could have maybe been gourmet but that it wasn’t really that well-thought out. Stick to the build-your-owns if you go, I think we’d say.
My wife’s salad just couldn’t figure out what it was. She got the Harvest salad: lettuce, apples, brussel sprouts, butternut squash, corn, roasted bell peppers, roasted potatoes, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, balsamic vinaigrette. Sounds fine, but the bell peppers were mushy, the roasted vegetables were cold, and the cranberries made every fourth or fifth bite sweet. Not enough apples to make it a sweet salad, not enough warm roasted vegetables to make it a warm salad… the balance was all off.
I got the pulled pork sandwich — slow-roasted pork shoulder, pineapple BBQ sauce, blueberry preserve, cheddar cheese, mayo on a ciabatta. So I get it was supposed to be a little spicy and a little sweet with the mayo and cheese — you know that I love sweet and cheese — but it didn’t work for me. I didn’t taste the cheese. I didn’t taste anything pineapple. I barely tasted the blueberry jam. You know what I mostly tasted? BBQ sauce and pulled pork — go figure.
Not sure how to tie this up with a bow. Balance is important, but so is character, I guess. These two things were designed to have balance, but they lost their character. Was it an avant-guarde sandwich with pork in it, or was it a straight pulled pork sandwich with a twist? Was it a harvest salad or was it a sweet salad take on the harvest salad?
We want to push the sandwich discourse forward, but we also want to remember that we aren’t the first people to make sandwiches. Remember the character of your sandwich, and change things around the edges — that’s the way we can innovate on this century-old phenomenon.