When you crave brunch, what dish are you thinking of? Is it eggs Benedict with cayenne-speckled hollandaise and eggs poached just so? A pile of pancakes under a lava flow of maple syrup? An English breakfast so authentic that you begin to call soccer by its real name, football? Sure, OK, all of the preceding dishes have their merits. But are they sandwiches?
That is the question you should ask yourself when considering what to order at brunch. For sandwiches, when done right, can deliver a uniquely satisfying experience — one wherein each bite perfectly captures all of the flavors and textures of the dish.
It is because of the sandwich's supreme, satiating abilities that we compiled a list of the top five brunch sandwiches. While some of these may necessitate a bit of fork-and-knife work, they all satisfy the basic sandwich requirement of breadstuffs encompassing non-breadstuffs.
So in no particular order, we present: Sandwiches Among Sandwiches, Leaders of the Brunch-Carb Revolution.
The Catfish Po'boy at Ida Claire
5001 Belt Line Road
Ida Claire's catfish po'boy gives diners a taste of New Orleans, that wondrous food capital where fish goes from the sea to the fryer and then straight onto good bread. Ida's version jackets the catfish fillet in cornmeal, which lends a crackly, crunchy mouthfeel to the soft-fleshed meat. The sandwich comes with a simple slaw of cabbage and celery root, pickles and "comeback sauce" — a creamy, piquant concoction that sings with vinegary flavor. As any sandwich aficionado can attest, bread can make or break a sandwich. Ida doesn't disappoint, serving the po'boy on a roll that had that perfect combination of delicately crisp, thin exterior and pillowy crumb made all the more pleasing after soaking up some of that sauce.
The Hylander at Cane Rosso
7328 Gaston Ave.
Cane Rosso's waffle sandwich does not use an ordinary waffle. Mere flour and eggs are not at work here, for this is a savory, potatoey waffle — think part pierogi, part mashed potato pancake — sent, no doubt, from a god who wants earthlings to eat carbohydrates and be content. Here, the waffle serves as a brilliant meatball delivery system. The meatballs themselves are simply seasoned; the majority of the dish's flavor is driven by the marinara and melted mozzarella that hug the meatballs and bind them to the waffle with a distinctly Italian level of aggression. This is food that lies somewhere on the comfort spectrum between meatloaf and mashed potatoes and a nap.
Ciabatta Uova e Manzo at CiboDivino
1868 Sylvan Ave.
For those doubting the efficacy of CiboDivino’s brisket sandwich (formally known as ciabatta uova e manzo), rest assured that this Italian-style marketplace can, in fact, produce smoked brisket that can satiate even the most Texan of taste buds. Tender, beautifully smoky brisket is paired with a hearty ciabatta roll — one that provides just enough crunch while also being malleable. A few pickles provide little spikes of acidity and freshness. This sandwich’s success is ultimately made by its simplicity, with good meat and bread prepared and delivered with little bravado.
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The Reuben at Oddfellows
316 W. Seventh St.
Oddfellows’ Reuben flies in the face of deli-style stack o' meat Reubens by placing equal importance on each element of the sandwich.There are thick slices of fresh, marbled rye, grilled just as the Reuben’s hotly debated creator, Bernard Schimmel, did when he prepared this sandwich for the first time. The bread is key; it helps maintain order while a thick slick of Thousand Island and sauerkraut do their best to undermine the integrity of the sandwich. And where the bread provides stability, the ’kraut and thick, crunchy housemade pickles provide freshness and tang, helping to balance this otherwise very rich meal. A refreshingly restrained layer of salty corned beef and nutty, creamy Swiss cheese also help achieve this balance.
The BLT at Nova
1417 W. Davis St.
Bacon gelato. Bacon-washed cocktails. Bacon foam on miniature bacon macarons. By making bacon into a marketable idea of a food rather than a simple ingredient, we have, perhaps, lost sight of how good a simple BLT can be. But not Nova. This Oak Cliff eatery with a retro-chic vibe makes an old-fashioned, soul-restoring BLT. The components that make this sandwich shine include toast that is sturdy without being tough, a generous slather of ranchy mayo and an entire Okja's worth of applewood-scented, thick-cut bacon that's cooked just right — a little crisp, a little chewy. Spring for a fried egg to push this BLT into full-on sandwich orgasm territory.