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, Little Italy
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.
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.
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.
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.