Why are we waxing about sandos when it’s not National Sandwich Day? Because everyday is sandwich appreciation day in my house.
Catfish po’boy ($10.95) at Le’s Deli & Bakery
4219 S. Othello St., Seattle; 206-397-4352; les-deli-bakery.edan.io
You would have to comb through the city long and hard to find a better catfish po’boy in this price range. All the ingredients are in ideal proportion; salty, craggy nuggets of opaque fillet cut with pickles and banana peppers. Mayo and butter make their stand to ensure the frilly lettuce and tomatoes don’t overwhelm (as many cheap subs tend to). Bread is banh-mi style, crackly exterior and airy, with both nubby ends chopped off so every bite is meaty consistent.
Dave’s Way brisket sammie ($14.95) at Buckshot Honey
38767 S.E. River St., Snoqualmie; 425-292-0200; buckshothoney.com
“Spicy, cheesy, smoky” is how owner Dave Storm likes his food. That’s as good a summation as any for his namesake sandwich. The “Dave’s Way” comes spicy from the dime-size serrano peppers, cheesy from provolone sauce and smoky from brisket that’s been applewood-smoked for 12 hours. It’s served on toasted Macrina rye bread with a slathering of Kewpie mayo. (Dave is not big on dieting.) Dave’s Way is a distant cousin of a cheesesteak. Request a fatty slab of brisket because a lean cut will get drowned out with all the loud personalities in this sandwich. His buttery brisket, burnished with a thick char, didn’t taste burnt. It hews close to Central Texas-style barbecue and comes with two sides (there are six options that range from mac and cheese to potato salad). This substantial meal would cost you north of $20 in Seattle.
Lox sandwich ($14) at Old Salt (inside Manolin)
3621 Stone Way N., Seattle; 206-294-3331; oldsaltseattle.com
We are in a midst of a bagel boom, and with it comes the worst trend of 2021 — the bagel sandwich. Many bagels — especially those served with pastrami and turkey — don’t work well as sandwiches. Fresh bagels, which are dense and chewy to begin with, have a short life span, turning dry and hard after an hour or two. Well, leave it to the clever folks behind the pop-up Old Salt to create a bagel that doesn’t act like a bagel. It’s not as dense and chewy like New York style. Old Salt’s take is softer, a bit squishy, a better vehicle for its cured or smoked fish. Its lox sammie comes layered with coho slices with veggies and roasted piquillo peppers swaddling in an airy cream cheese. There’s also some mizuna greens and the briny pops of salmon roe. This gets served on an everything bagel that has a crackly, thin crust, not a loud, potato-chippy crunch like some Seattle bagels. Just a well-constructed sandwich from James Beard-nominated chef Liz Kenyon.
The Santa Maria tri-tip sandwich ($14) at Martino’s
7314 Greenwood Ave. N., Seattle; 206-466-5911; martinos.net
After a five-year hiatus, Martino’s returns to Phinney Ridge, in a bigger pad with a spacious kitchen that allows chef Chris Martino to expand the menu beyond deli food. Don’t worry, all his oldies but goodies remain, including the signature Santa Maria tri-tip sandwich, with ribbons of beef that have been smoked over red oak and finished over an open flame. The meat is salty and smoky and redolent with paprika and brightened with the tang of salsa and chimichurri. It comes with your choice of shoestring fries or a smoked potato salad.
Dungeness crab roll ($27) at Local Tide
401 N. 36th St., Suite 103, Seattle; 206 420-4685; localtide.com
(The kitchen cracks enough crab to make a few sandwiches on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. They often sell out by 1 p.m.)
With our bounty of Dungeness crab, you would think crab rolls would be on every menu. But the economic math doesn’t add up if you’re trying to make this affordable for the masses. It’s hard to find a decent crab roll for under $20. A cheap crab roll often tastes metallic or smells fishy. Always read the fine print. Some are made with fake crab meat or bulked up with fillers and packaged as a “crab salad” roll. Local Tide’s version is the real McCoy — with a smudge of mayo to bind the Dungeness chunks and a modest sprinkling of salt, lemon and chives — served on a toasted, split-top brioche. Just a clean taste of fresh crustacean goodness.