Sunday, March 22, 2009

So, Bunk Sandwiches was everything I hoped it would be, and a little bit more. The sandwich itself was ridiculously good—succulent milk braised pork, shredded and scented with fennel seeds, on a soft, buttered hoagie roll, grilled to greasy perfection on the flat top and spread with stone ground mustard, mayo and topped with shredded lettuce and pickled green tomatoes.

Though my months of healthy eating, I’ve fantasized about nothing more frequently than sauce-soaked bread, like a greasy burger bun or a baguette dipped in pan drippings or mussel broth. This satisfied that desire excellently. I devoured every bit of it, and when I had one tiny inch of bun left, I dragged it across the grease soaked paper to savor that last bite. A feeling of genuine sadness swept over me when that moment was over. Honestly.

Tommy Habetz, the chef behind the counter, looks like he has a lot of fun back there, doing whatever the hell he wants to, working with his buddies in his own smoky little kitchen. Quite a change from cooking in some of New York’s most famous kitchens, he now hands over his food to diners personally. In a place that seems like the type to make you take a number to claim your order, at this place they call out your name.

And that is one of the small details that reminded me that I was in Portland, because in every other way, this place feels like New York: unapologetically unhealthy food (grease, on meat, on mayo), a tiny cramped space packed with patrons (and boxes stacked up toward the back), and a line out the door. The crowd in there was visibly in the know – chefs and other food industry people, Habetz fans, and neighborhood hipsters. The menu's written on a chalkboard that changes daily with sandwiches to please tastes simple and gourmet - like a meatball sub or chorizo and bacalao. The homemade pies of the day just sit there on the counter in their enticing golden glory. I don’t even know what they offer in terms of beverages, but I’m pretty sure it’s limited to soda and coffee. That’s what we got anyway. They don’t mess around.

There’s even a framed photo of Woody Allen propped against the cash register. What can I say - I love this place.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh I love Bunk. I had the chicken salad the first time I went and my friend got the italian cured meats. I had bad sandwich envy. I went back two more days in a row to get the proper cured meat fix. I think my bill was $18 on the third visit. No regrets!