Comments come in many forms, and this one fluttered in on a twitter stream. Within a day of the sort-of-soft opening, the foodnicks were chattering about Deep Ellum's new sandwich shop, Uncle Uber's (2713 Commerce St.). Twitter user @imccanntx laid down the gauntlet shortly after we posted a quick look on City of Ate:
I'd like to hear @scottreitz's take on the Uncle Uber "sammich" bread. Looks good, and good for @deepbusiness:
@imccanntx had obviously read my previous rant on Dallas' abysmal sandwich scene, and wanted to see how Uber's loaves stacked up.
It took me a week to get down there, but I visited for lunch today, and I have to say, based on two sandwiches and some decent fries, the 'hood that used to host Dallas' bustling jazz scene now has itself a decent sandwich shop.
The pork sandwich I tried was a little lifeless -- old Uncle Uber should think about a spicy cider vinegar sauce to play off that crunchy slaw. My shaved rib-eye, however, was a solid base hit, pairing juicy, savory meat with funky blue cheese and sweet caramelized onions. I was visibly upset that they didn't offer a cold cut Italian option. If they procured some high quality cold cuts, they'd have a shot at this city's best hoagie.
And about that bread:
Not bad. Uber's is a sturdy roll with a decent crust, but the crustiness isn't quite as intense as it could be. I like when my sandwich leaves a mess in my lap. I asked the girl working the counter where they got their rolls, and an hour or so later I was on the horn with O.J. DeSouza, a third generation baker at Signature Bakery in Dallas.
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The DeSouzas hail from Goa, India, of all places, and have been banging out breads in the Big D for the past 33 years. O.J. described working with Uncle Uber's Bryan and Kathy Crelly to develop the custom baked roll. "Crusty Hoagie" was the original request, but the rolls, when split and grilled, had a tendency to separate into two halves -- a major no-no in the sandwich world.
DeSouza reworked things a little and changed the recipe to increase the pliability of the bread. This is the characteristic that's robbed me of the crustiness I still haven't found in Dallas. Still, this is definitely some of the better sandwich bread I've tried since arriving, though I still have to run the banh mi circuit.
I'm not the only one who's noticed Signature Bakery's skills with a deck oven. The Texas State Fair will be featuring their bread for hot dogs hamburgers and other snacks, according to DeSouza. He's also working with some other sandwich shops in town. Could Dallas be on the cusp of a blossoming hoagie culture?