Spicy smoked tuna sandwich with griddled cheese
A marker board out front points out that Zagat has proclaimed Supernatural Sandwiches one of “15 must try sandwiches in America.” And I agree.
4658 Mission Blvd, San Diego
7094 Miramar Road, San Diego
For those of a younger generation, Zagat is like Yelp, but without all the clueless whinging, and published in book form. For nearly 40 years, Zagat has produced restaurant guides to dozens of the world’s major cities, and while they’re not always as accurate as, say, Reader Feast stories, a Miramar sandwich shop making the top 15 in the nation should be enough to tell you how good Supernatural Sandwiches has been.
So why is this sandwich shop almost empty at lunch time on a weekend? Chalk it up to geography: this isn’t Miramar, it’s Supernatural’s new Pacific Beach location.
That shouldn’t explain anything. The small storefront sits on busy Mission Boulevard, a block from the beach, surrounded by lesser restaurants doing brisk business. Here’s my beef: the only reason Supernatural opened here is that its chef and owners had previously opened a different restaurant concept at this location, Nom Nom Bento, which closed after less than a year in business.
Nom Nom Bento — and I want to stress this point — didn’t close due to quality. Its food was terrific. Good enough that I started going out of my way to be near Pacific Beach when I was hungry, rather than going out of my way to avoid it. I’m inclined to blame the people of PB for not recognizing that Nom Nom’s affordable, nutritionally balanced, and above all delicious bento bowls were a boon to their neighborhood. But then, they get Supernatural as a wonderful consolation prize.
Now they just need to recognize how good they have it. Buttery bread, rich sauces and hunky fish make these grilled sandwiches go, and the cheese melts get downright decadent.
Supernatural Sandwiches Pacific Beach doesn’t offer every item served in Miramar, but it definitely offers its best, including its top seller, Aphrodite: the same shrimp and bacon cheese melt that caught Zagat’s attention ($10.50). I’m personally more into the Griffen, a.k.a. spicy lobster grilled cheese ($12), to the point I rarely order anything else, but visiting the PB shop looked like just the excuse I needed to revisit a sandwich that doesn’t lean on shellfish.
I’ll give credit where it’s due: those P-Becians who have discovered Supernatural have made a different sandwich its top seller, and they’ve shown excellent taste. Dubbed the Poseidon, it’s a spicy smoked tuna, served with pickled onions, chipotle aioli, and griddled cheese ($9.50). I added avocado for $2.
The griddled cheese is a four-cheese blend, grilled together to form a browned on the outside, soft in the middle patty. Like all these sandwiches, it’s served on grilled brioche that is super soft yet perfectly crispy at the edges. Of course, what really makes this sandwich a winner is the smoky, spicy tuna salad.
As I sat alone in the restaurant devouring it, a group of six adults walked in with a handful of children, and I thought a lunch rush might be underway. But after perusing the menu, they grumbled something about “only seafood?” and walked out. I recall thinking, the kids must be picky eaters.
I spotted them a short while later across the street, eating at Cheba Hut, the sub sandwich chain built entirely around a marijuana motif. At least the kids didn’t have to eat awesome seafood.
I hope the locals of PB catch on to the value Supernatural brings their casual dining scene. If not, I know a neighborhood who will. A Little Italy location will open imminently.