Fried calamari steak sandwich with sweet and tangy gochujang chili sauce
Last weekend brought good tidings for fans of saucy seafood sandwiches in the downtown area, namely me: Supernatural Sandwiches held its grand opening in Little Italy.
2155 Kettner Blvd, San Diego
When I first got hooked on Supernatural, it was a pop up caterer I could reliably find at Hillcrest Farmers Market and the woefully short-lived San Diego Public Market. After that closed, it opened a shop in Miramar, not too far to travel for a serious craving, but only truly convenient to marines and beer writers.
A mural at newly opened Supernatural Sandwiches in Little Italy
I’ve been hoping the place would come back south of the 8 freeway, watching it expand instead to Pacific Beach (too out of the way) and Orange County (way too out of the way). It even opened a Tijuana location (too surrounded by tacos). But with the new Kettner shop, there’s finally a shop close enough to satisfy any sudden urges for a spicy lobster grilled cheese.
The new storefront is all west-facing windows, with a shade to pull down when there’s glare, and a sidewalk patio to enjoy when there’s not. However, the dining room and bar are set up to resemble an underwater scene. Murals wrapping around interior walls depict a shipwreck surrounded by sea life, including a sea turtle and mermaid, while wood beams overhead form a joint, echoing the bow of a ship.
Underwater references abound, including boat hull shaped rafters
Most of the familiar sandwiches show up on the menu, plus a pair of new, location-specific options. The first is Kaiju, an alternate take on Supernatural’s $22 Cthulhu lobster roll, this one described as “Cantonese style,” featuring ginger, scallions, and jalapeños. I went for the $12 Jaeger, a fried calamari steak sandwich, dressed with apple slaw and doused in a sweet and sour style sauce based on Korea’s sweet chili paste, gochujang.
If you’re thinking, that’s a unique sounding sandwich, you’re not alone. Fans of calamari should bite for a tender take on that distinctive calamari chew, and a crispy fried batter and sauce combo I can’t help liken to a spicy orange chicken. Fret not if you don’t dig calamari — and I know you’re out there — everything else on the menu is a go.
Blackened tombo served over garlic fried rice, drizzled with avocado ponzu sauce
Even if you don’t eat sandwiches, it turns out. All of the sandwiches are available served with rice and salad, instead of the usual, brioche style buns. I decided to give this a shot with the fish of the day, which happened to be tombo (albacore tuna). On the menu, the Hydra blackened fish sandwich ($11) is topped with lettuce and tomatoes, and dressed with avocado ponzu and a three chili aioli. When I ordered it as a rice plate (plus $1 to make it garlic fried rice), the fish came served over the rice, and dressed with the avo ponzu. Beside it, a salad of lettuce and tomatoes was dressed with the chili aioli.
Not as cohesively rich and saucy as the sandwich, but a fine deconstruction when anchored by the garlic rice. I almost liked the rice plate better. That’s almost. Supernatural remains my favorite local sandwich shop.
A west facing storefront in Little Italy