When considering the multitude of sandwich options in our fine city, you have to decide what KIND of sandwich you’d like. There’s cold Italian subs like those sported at Bari Italian Grocer (previous post). You also have excellent hot grinders like the kind perfected at Philly’s Best (later post). There’s also the gourmet sandwich you’d find at Goddess and the Grocer.
We figured that Publican Quality Meats (825 W. Fulton Mkt.) would fall into the last of these categories, but instead we found a shop that falls into a realm of its own.
PQM is a rustic, unique and timeless delicatessen that exemplifies incredibly high quality ingredients, lots of time and patience plus tremendous care and attention to detail.
They feature an incredible selection of cured artisanal meats, cheeses and spreads. They use traditional recipes mixed with some modern innovations and technique to give you the best possible finished product.
Everything is made in house and everything looks absolutely stunning. We decided to have a mini picnic as opposed to eating in, so we got our food to go and pulled up a seat on the curb down the block.
We ordered the Chicken Puttanesca sandwich. It came on fantastic Ciabatta that was toasted and dressed with a fresh and spicy tomato sauce. The chicken cutlet was flavorful and breaded in an herbaceous breading.
It was easy to bite through and had great chicken flavor. Often fried chicken sandwiches focus so much on the ingredients atop the chicken that the quality and care of the bird itself is lost.
A salty, umami relish of olive and pine nuts is different for me and worked really well with the sweet tangy tomato sauce. Arugula and a beautifully fragrant Pecorino cheese were the final touches to the sandwich. Overall it was great in texture, depth of flavor and was easy to bite without getting all over the place. We both were fans of the Puttanesca.
Our second choice was the Beef Tongue. Oh my goodness this was a great selection. The tongue itself looked remarkable in the deli case. For those of you out there that HAVEN’T tried deli style tongue, you are seriously missing out. It has a unique texture, but when done right, it’s unctuous, savory, smoky and really just perfect between two slices of bread.
PQM tops their tongue with a mild, creamy farmers cheese as opposed to your traditional deli style mustard. Some marinated eggplant is also added. With the thick cut rye receiving a nice toast, you have the making of an incredibly simple yet tasty creation. Again, the flavors were out of this world.
Creamy cheese, tender beefy tongue and the marinated eggplant added the freshness that was needed to bring the richness in balance. Wonderful. In fact, this is one of the city’s best sandwiches. Really. We both felt that we had everything we could want in a sammy right in front of us…on the curb.
We opted for potato salad as our side. Simply dressed, the potatoes had a nice bite and weren’t over cooked. A generous amount of dill was used in the dressing as well which we both appreciated.
All in all, a great meal on the street. As their menu changes frequently, I’m not sure how long they will have the beef tongue available. I assure you, though, you will be glad that you checked it out while it’s around. It’s worth every penny.Oh, and all sandwiches are under ten bucks with the tongue being a mere $8!
They could have easily charged twelve or thirteen and people would be satisfied.
I spoke with one of the butchers down in the lower level where the prep kitchen and bathrooms are located. He explained that they pass their cost savings on to the customer by preparing everything in house – a genuinely smart and honest practice.
He was nice enough to let me peek in their dry aging cooler where I found multiple sides of beef at different stages in the aging process. One of the cuts (at the top right of the shelf) is nearing 100 days in the aging room – incredible. I was also lucky enough to see their house butcher breaking down an ENTIRE SIDE OF STEER for use later that day.
We knew PQM would be great, but we didn’t expect the warm and welcoming service and really top notch sandwiches when compared to any shop in the city. The fact that they bring such high quality product, rustic technique and attention to detail in a sandwich shop is reassuring for humanity. You go eat there, yes.
I’m hungry. Let’s eat!