It seems there is little left to say about sandwiches. They have been extolled ad infinitum, and even ad nauseum. How, then, would one develop a sandwich-based menu that isn't (a) so far off the beaten track that garnering fans is a challenge, or (b) so narrowly centered on the beaten track that it is merely a retread of so many previous menus? This quandary vexes the "sandwich generation" of both the social sciences and all things culinaria. One must strike a balance between caring for aging parents and dependent offspring, analogues of the aforementioned traditional-iconoclastic sandwich dichotomy.
Pure Kitchen, a newcomer to 124 Street and sibling of nearby The Makk on 124, sets this conundrum to rest. A breakfast/lunch menu features a host of sly sammies that are just edgy enough to outwit other assemblages of bread, meat and veg. But first - salad. The Pure Salad gently tosses together mixed leafy greens, carrot shreds, zippy red onion and lusciously ripe tomatoes. Scatters of sunflower seeds and chalk-white clouds of feta play with a sunny vinaigrette.
A Turkey Club presents as a tender-crisp torpedo roll jam-packed with mild smoked turkey, tenderly wilted greens, sweet and oozy provolone, salty-smoky bacon, soft-spoken maple mayo, and liberal lashings of guacamole. Though maple and avocado would traditionally be written off as strange bedfellows, this non-intuitive pairing launches this torpedo into uncharted and fascinating waters.
Mac and Cheese Panini is precisely what one's mother would advise against: decadent cheese sauce that literally sighs with gratitude as it encompasses each curly cavatappi, vividly scarlet tomato slices and yet more bacon, all cloaked with a mantle of molted sharp cheddar. This opulent concoction shames many versions of mac and cheese and isn't lost within the crunchy confines of bread.
Pure Kitchen's dessert cooler would see any doomsday survivalist through the most dreadful of Malthusian societal breakdowns. Chocolate layer cake is rather dry but rescued by generous chocolate frosting. A swirled and flaky pastry creation (that has no official name) is chock-full of peanut butter and raisins. This sublime collaboration of smooth and flake is nicely washed down with a frothy cappuccino.
One needn't reinvent the wheel to make a good sandwich - or most other dishes, for that matter - but striking a balance between the austere and the obscure presents a challenge to even the most experienced of restauranteurs. Bravo, Pure Kitchen. We're talking 'about this generation.