Roast beef inside a sandwich
2855 El Cajon Boulevard #1, San Diego
When whole-animal butcher shop Heart & Trotter opened last spring, I was impressed with its quality selection of meats, sausages, and eggs. I didn’t know then that they had a plan to make sandwiches.
They do so three days a week, and even those days only one kind of sandwich is served. Actually, Thursdays they serve sandwiches, Friday they serve sausage on a roll, and Saturday they serve up burgers.
Heart & Trotter
I know I like the sausages, and hamburgers are tough to screw up when you start with quality beef. I was more curious as to what they could do with house-made cold cuts. As it happens, when I showed up a recent Thursday for lunch, they were serving the most boring sandwich you could make from a cow: roast beef.
Not that roast beef is bad, it’s just that it’s tough to make it into a memorable sandwich. Heart & Trotter got off to a good start using sourdough bread made by Morena District bakery Pacific Time. The lettuce and tomato were also fresh, and the slice of provolone did what provolone is good at — complementing meat without trying to compete with it.
Roast beef inside the case
All of it is a good base for a simple sandwich. But by rights a butcher shop serving sandwiches should be judged by its meat. In this case, the house roast beef held up to scrutiny. While it was sliced thin, they laid it on thick, resulting in beefy yet tender bites.
I might have appreciated a little kick — stone ground mustard or some pepper with the light mayo — but the sourdough added enough contrast to the beef to make it enjoyable. That doesn’t sound as good as “outstanding,” but like I said, conceptually roast beef is a boring sandwich, so “enjoyable” sets a high mark.
I take it as a good sign these guys have enough confidence in their meat to keep their sandwiches fairly simple. One week I shared a relatively unadorned porchetta, and another week I failed to show up in time to try their house smoked ham. Knowing that these are a possibility gives me enough reason to find out what sorts of treats they’ve come up with each week.