It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
And so it is, we are faced with two new sandwich shops for comparison. In the summer of Aught’Twelve, a time of culinary bounty and impending depravity (we shall miss you dear foie), there lie two places – on opposites sides of town, with opposite sensibilities and objectives…and yet both are deeply satisfying.
PRIME DIP – 1515 Fillmore – http://www.primedip.com/
I heard of the legend of the Surf-N-Turf. It made it’s way around the blogosphere and I was intrigued. A lobster roll is an epicurean treasure, not to be taken lightly. Not to be slathered with mayo (in my book). Rather, it should be gently poached and dealt with in butter, on a roll. A simple roll. Not much else to it. It’s often expensive beyond reason. But it’s to be savored and relished and adored.
A good prime rib dip may not be as elegant, but can also satisfy in ways that calls one to travel for her pleasures. Give me au jus or give me death. Make it thin, pink and tender. Make her broth savory. Again, the roll is important. Horseradish is a plus.
Bring them together in combination, half on each side of a serving vessel and one might gaze quizzically at first, but ultimately understand. The intersection of buttery lobster and horseradishy beef looks a little jumbled. I pushed them apart before I dug in. They weren’t supposed to mingle that closely. And they were delicious (and only $11, including a side of my choice).
Prime Dip is nothing fancy. I think I heard they are using rolls from Lee’s Deli. But this is definitely a step up from Lee’s. They have created some lovely, satisfying sandwiches that will bring me back. The sides are nothing to write home about. The atmosphere is uninspired. But on cross-town jaunts that hit lower Fillmore, it’s worth a stop.
SALUMERIA – 3000 20th Street – http://www.salumeriasf.com/
Occupying the realm of complete opposites to Prime Dip, Salumeria, the offshoot of her big sister Flour + Water, is a darling little gem of superlatives. The design and decor is painfully perfect. Apparently the space was an old sausage factory that was aptly repurposed for our deli delights. But the food is what really shines.
Where Prime Dip offers pedestrian sandwiches, Salumeria goes farm-to-table and brings some of the F+W soul along for the ride. Delights like a roast beef on house made pretzel roll will boggle your mind. Duck confit or any variety of house made salumi and charcuterie find their way into creative assemblies along side stunning salads / antipasti.
Everything at Salumeria can be enjoyed in the adjacent courtyard shared with Central Kitchen, the third project by the F+W guys (review to come later when I’ve been a few times). The whole space feels like you landed on a photo shoot for Sunset Magazine. It’s the epitome of NorCal style and grace, smack in the heart of Mission Gulch. And of course that means there will be hipsters.
Moreover, you can purchase the salumi, cheeses, etc. as well as house-made ricotta and pastas from Flour + Water. To me, that’s a huge bonus. In fact, they just stepped up to Fatted Calf and said, yes we can. I recently hosted a dinner party including a number of their treats. And my guests claimed yes they did.
And so I declare that I am satisfied by both. I am a man of contradiction, but I follow my heart. And I shall always follow my heart. So I leave you with Dickens…
He knew enough of the world to know that there is nothing in it better than the faithful service of the heart.