A new hideaway deli at 424 Bridge St., Ashland, leaves the lunchmeat-on-bread to the Subway a block away and focuses instead on making what Urban Dictionary calls "the holiest and mightiest of all sandwiches" — the sammich.
Sammich lives up to its slang namesake by offering nearly a dozen Chicago- and Italian-style sandwiches made with fresh, local ingredients and housemade sauces — the recipes of owners Melissa McMillan and Chandra Corwin, former head chef at Cucina Biazzi.
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424 Bridge St.
Open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
Corwin's creative but classic combinations are truly the sum of their parts, featuring breads from La Baguette Hardware Cafe, veggies from Talent's Fry Family Farm and meats from a co-op of ranches based in the Pacific Northwest.
The restaurant opened in mid-May, and its doors haven't quit swinging since. My husband and I met there last Monday for an early lunch. Other patrons included businessmen, Southern Oregon University students from across the street, a woman wearing jogging apparel and waiting for takeout, and several parties-of-one with books or magazines in hand. Everybody loves a good sandwich.
Maybe it was the blackboard menu, the small dining room or the open kitchen, but Sammich reminded me of Jasper's Cafe and Buttercloud Bakery in Medford. There were tomatoes, avocados and onions ripening in bowls above a deli case, Wrigley Field and Cubs memorabilia — McMillan is from Chicago — hanging on the walls, funky lime and teal accents, and about a half-dozen laminated wood tables to choose from or, if you prefer, picnic tables outdoors.
After reviewing the menu and the day's specials (barbecued beef, pastrami Reuben and king salmon sandwiches), Sean and I ordered the "Tre" ($9) and "TimChan" ($10) sandwiches, respectively, as well as two flavored San Pellegrino beverages.
Tim's potato chips come with all the sandwiches, but for $1 I swapped the chips for a serving of potato salad. Other sides included tomato soup and three salad specials.
Sean's sandwich was cold, with rolls and layers of sopressata, mortadella and prosciutto, as well as provolone, shredded lettuce, chopped onion, mustard and mayo on a soft baguette.
Mine — Corwin's take on a Chicago cheesesteak — was served hot. Thinly sliced top sirloin, shredded lettuce and onions spilled out of the baguette, making it an unmanageable, delicious mess. Thankfully, Sammich foresees this problem and provides a knife.
Nonetheless, I would advise against the "TimChan" for takeout. The meat was so juicy that the bun was soggy within minutes, forcing me to eat faster than any "lady" should.
As I eyed sandwiches delivered to nearby tables, I began to develop a serious case of food envy, not because I regretted my order but because the other sandwiches looked so darn good. Corwin must have sensed my longing because she brought me samples of the poached albacore, which is not as "fishy" as canned tuna, and the pastrami.
Sammich's pastrami has emerged as the holiest and mightiest of its offerings. Corwin actually was making pastrami long before Sammich was even a notion, McMillan says. Preparing the meat is a six-day process that includes three days in a brine. The result is a tender, Montreal-style, smoked brisket that Corwin serves hot on rye bread with Swiss cheese and slaw.
On returning visits (yes, that's plural), I'd also like to try Sammich's turkey-cranberry sandwich ($9) and its "Burg" ($10), a cheeseburger with all the trimmings.
Sammich is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. Check out the restaurant's Facebook page for daily specials and pictures of its scrumptious stacks.
— Teresa Thomas