Friday, March 12, 2010

A Familiar Sight

On the way to the ID, I ran across this phenomenon:

Any of you who work near Pioneer Square know what this is. It's the line to Salumi. It's a common weekday sight. The last job I had was right next to Occidental Square, about two blocks from Salumi. I was there for six months and I kept promising myself that I'd go, stand in line and get a sandwich that everybody at the agency (and elsewhere) was raving about. It never happened. On rare occasions when I did eat lunch, I was too attached to Mediterranean Express and Jimmy John's. Yeah, I know, sacrilege. They shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath as Salumi. I mean, it's a Batali family operation and so forth.

Well, after my lovely second-place showing last Tuesday and the $80 that went along with it, I finally took the plunge. I stood in line with all the other schmoes. What you can't initially see is that the outside line is just the first line. As soon as you get inside, there's just more line. In fact, once you're inside, you're only about a third of the way towards getting your sandwich. And so time went by and the line crept forward. And I was getting hungrier. Finally, after at least 20 minutes, I placed my order: a salumi salami sandwich with mozzarella and onions/peppers on a ciabatta. My friend Ty said this was the best sandwich he'd ever had. After the sandwich was made, there was another 10 minutes of waiting to pay. The thing about that place is that it's so tiny that there's no room for people to move in more than one direction. People can come in, but getting out is another ordeal. I couldn't possibly imagine putting myself through this more than once or twice a year. I just hoped that the sandwich was as good as they said it was (GOOD GOOD EAT). On the bus back to Belltown, the smell of the garlic salumi became pretty apparent.

Guess what? It was really good. It wasn't the best sandwich I've ever had. That honor is split between the barbecue pork san from Buffalo Deli (right here in Belltown!) and the New Yorker from Tat's Deli (in Pioneer Square). This Salumi creation was up there, but didn't quite make it. I encourage everyone to go there, if anything, for the privilege of standing in line for half an hour. It was definitely worth the wait, but I'll tell you something: for purposes of comparison, I went to Jimmy John's today and ordered their complex Italian sub. I was out of there in two minutes (they are fast!) and it was good. And cheaper, too. In conclusion: Salumi: wait, wait, wait, wait, yum; Jimmy John's: yum.

1 comment:

Jim said...

If it's a sandwich you're after, my advice would be to get the porchetta (without cheese!) or - if you want something with tomato sauce - the meatball. The cured meats at Salumi are delicious, but are best eaten on a platter and not between two slices of bread. And it is almost mandatory to sit down on the premises so that you can consume it with a glass of vino. But you could just as easily do that at home in Belltown.