Friday, June 10, 2011

Cutty's: Laid-back Local Sandwich Shop

This review originally published on June 9, 2011 at The Brookline Patch

I’m standing in line at Cutty’s, the sharp new sandwich shop in Brookline Village. In line with me are a couple of college kids, an elderly man on crutches, a glamorous woman toting a Floris-London bag, and a young couple with a stroller. Ah, sandwiches—the great equalizer.

Inside the door is a large sign, handwritten on butcher paper, advertising Cutty’s own pork fat for sale, with suggested uses ranging from the serious (sautéing, roasting) to the tongue-in-cheek (bronzer, eyebrow sculptor). That’s the kind of place this is: a gourmet sandwich shop for those serious about taste and locally sourced ingredients. But even if you don’t care about all that—even if you just want a really good sandwich—then this is your kind of place, too.

Cutty’s serves breakfast beginning at 8am, offering dishes like their own crumb cake ($1.70) and housemade granola with honey and yogurt ($3.65).  I’m still hoping for a morning when I can head over to Cutty’s to make a breakfast out of their roasted seasonal fruit with yogurt ($2.95).

The "Spuckie"

But for my lunch visit, I was eager to order the “Spuckie” ($7.75), a sandwich hailed as an inspired creation on far-reaching foodie websites, and it lived up to its reputation: supple handmade mozzarella, mortadella, capicola with a hint of heat, fennel salami, and an olive-carrot salad that simultaneously added sweetness, brine, and a bit of crunch.  Vegetarians can choose the Eggplant Spuckie ($7.25), with savory planks of marinated eggplant replacing the meat. Ciabatta bread, with a crust crispy enough to produce an audible crackle when you bite in, plays as equal partner to the fillings here.  Other places might get a draw through portion size, but the Spuckie―and indeed all of Cutty’s sandwiches―illustrate a “less is more” mantra, with the final product being a balanced gourmet sandwich.
Alongside my Spuckie, I had a cup of tomato soup, smooth and intensely tomato-y but too sweet for my taste, and a bag of crispy, golden, and perfectly addictive homemade potato chips ($2), sprinkled with large-grain salt.  A number of salads, like carrot and chickpea salad ($3.75) and mixed greens with shaved fennel, crispy shallots, peanuts, and aged gouda ($6.95) beckoned temptingly from the menu.
The Niman Ranch ham in the Ham Dijon sandwich ($6.45) is so good―soft, smooth, and smoky―that I could eat it plain by the forkful.  It arrives on a chewy baguette with a veneer of Dijon mustard and another of butter, giving a subtle richness to the bread.  Sliced cornichons add a gentle pucker.
Sautéed chard lends a deep earthiness to the Greens Bacon sandwich ($6.95), which suffered overall from intensely salty bacon; be sure to order a drink, like the not-too-sweet hand squeezed limeade ($1.85), alongside.  
The Roast Beef 1000 ($7.95) is one of the simplest sandwiches on the menu, yet one of the most satisfying―the beef itself is sublimely tender and savory, showcased with cheddar cheese, 1000 island dressing, and a layer of crispy shallots on top of a brioche bun.
Greens Bacon sandwich

On Saturdays, Cutty’s offers two additional specialty sandwiches, both featuring slow-roasted pork: the Pork Fennel ($8.75) with pickled fennel and roasted garlic, and the Pork Rabe ($8.95) with provolone and sautéed broccoli rabe.  We didn’t care for the unpleasantly gamey taste of the pork, and set our Pork Rabe aside after only a few bites.
Round out your lunch with a chocolate chip cookie ($.95) so buttery it could pass for chocolate-studded shortbread, or a truly amazing brown sugar cookie ($.95) with a depth of flavor revolutionary to sugar cookies in general.  This is perfect picnic food―and with nothing but warm, sunny days ahead, a picnic seems like the perfect reason to grab a Spuckie.

Cutty’s is open for breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday 8am-3pm, with lunch beginning at 11am.  248 Washington Street, Brookline.  MBTA: Green line (D) to Brookline Village.
Cutty's on Urbanspoon

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