Saturday, February 28, 2015

No Bronx Cheer For These Sandwiches

Bronx Sandwich Co. 
13041 Newport Ave.
Tustin, CA 92780

It's usually my policy to give a place a year before I review them. This allows for a filling out process, and doesn't fill my restaurant blog with places that have gone out of business within the first year. I've read that 90 percent of new restaurants fail during their first year in business, a huge number that has been doubted by some in the restaurant industry. Whatever the real percentage is, it's definitely a crap shoot to open a restaurant, but after seeing these sandwiches on Instagram, I had to try the new sandwich shop on the block, Bronx Sandwich Co.

Bronx Sandwich is located in the same shopping plaza as Tustin Brewing Company, and right next door to the soon departing Nieuport 17. They have been open since the first of the year, and there's already another location that is labeled as coming soon on their website. That spot will be in Anaheim, at the corner of Euclid and Ball, in the same shopping center as Northgate Market and Chipotle. No word on an opening date for that one yet, as the girl at the counter was not so sure when that one would be opening.

We made two early evening visits to this Tustin location to try out these monstrous sandwiches we have seen on Instagram. Not sure what was here before Bronx Sandwich Co., but the space is pretty impressive. Very high ceilings, and plenty of room to enjoy your sandwiches. There's even two TVs that have been turned to sports each time we have been here.

Their menu has a pretty impressive list of hot and cold sandwiches, street fries, two entree salads, and for some reason, two rice bowls that feature either shrimp or chicken. I was here for sandwiches though. Their meats come from east coast staple, Dietz and Watson, and their bread is sourced from legendary OC bread maker Dean Kim's, OC Baking Company. With these two companies supplying the two most basic parts of the sandwich, I had very high hopes for Bronx Sandwich Co. Let's see if those hopes would be confirmed or dashed after eating here.

On my first trip here, I ordered two sandwiches for myself. No, I did not finish them both, but I did put a pretty good dent into them. I selected the Bronx Club ($8.99) first,  because this was the sandwich that got a lot of love online. It was served on a French baguette, and filled with plenty of roasted turkey, creamy Havarti cheese, bacon, avocado, lettuce, and mayo. All of the layers of this sandwich were of a high quality. The bread was spongy enough to hold everything together, while maintaining a softness. The turkey tasted very fresh, and they did not overload this sandwich with too much produce. The bacon kind of got lost here due to the large amount of cheese that they piled on. The cheese kind of clumped together in the middle of the sandwich, and overpowered it. This was much better when I took out some of the cheese, so I could taste the rest of the sandwich. Still good, but my next sandwich was much more to my liking.

I'm definitely a sucker for a good Reuben, and this Pastrami Reuben ($9.99) was right on point. Plenty of pastrami, Swiss cheese, thousand island dressing, and sauerkraut are sandwiched between two pieces of rye bread to form this very solid sandwich. The pastrami could have been served a little warmer, but it did have a good flavor to it. I'd probably go with cole slaw, instead of sauerkraut next time, and I'd also forgo the rye bread, and have this sandwich on a french baguette. The rye was good, but needed to be toasted a little bit. Still a good Reuben, and I look forward to having it again, with these modifications.

Katie for some reason on this night was not feeling like a sandwich, so she opted for this Chicken Caesar Salad ($7.99). She was surprised by the size of this salad, which was made up of romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese, Caesar dressing, and grilled chicken. She liked the warm chicken that topped this, as it made this salad more of a meal. Her only suggestion to make this Caesar better would be to use shaved Parmesan, instead of the powdered stuff.

On our second trip to Bronx Sandwich Co., Katie was more in the mood for a sandwich, and had the Hero ($8.99). This turkey pastrami sandwich came with Havarti cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo, on your choice of bread, which Katie chose rye. I've never really been a big fan of turkey pastrami, but this one was the best that I've had. Almost like the real thing. Katie left here a very happy girl after eating this sandwich. They did not overload this with lettuce, the Havarti added a nice creaminess, and there was just enough mayo on here to compliment the very well made turkey pastrami. After just two visits, Katie had found her favorite sandwich here.

I was kind of torn on what would be my sandwich on this trip, but I went with my gut, and tried the Sloppy Bronx ($9.99). I may have found my favorite sandwich at Bronx Sandwich Co. as well. This sandwich had a little bit of everything that I love, roast beef, a hot link, coleslaw, french fries, mayo, mustard, chipotle dressing, and three kinds of cheeses. This was kind of a variation on the Fat Darrell sandwiches that were made famous by the show, "Man V. Food." Those sandwiches had chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks and more in them, but this sandwich kind of had that same feel to it. The way the sandwich was constructed, it was hard to get a bite with everything included, but once I did, it was magical. The ingredients inside went wonderfully together, and there was just the right amount of condiments included here. I might suggest that they go a little lighter on the mustard next time, but this sandwich will be hard to resist on my next visit.

After our first visit to Bronx Sandwich Company, we liked it. After our second visit, we both liked it a lot more, and we are hoping that after our third visit, we will end up loving this restaurant. Sandwiches can be a little tricky, depending on who's making them that particular day, and the freshness of the bread and meats. Both time we have been here, freshness has definitely not been an issue. This is the kind of place that you will have to come to more than once to find your perfect sandwich. Earlier in this review I said that I might have found my perfect sandwich, but that does not mean that another sandwich on this menu can not compare to the Sloppy Bronx. I look forward to the deliciousness that will be coming my way trying to dethrone this sandwich on my next trip here. It's definitely safe to say that after eating at Bronx Sandwich Company, they will be one of the 10 percent or so restaurants that will make it til their first anniversary.

Out of five bombers, (not only does this describe these sandwiches, but the Bronx is also home to the New York Yankees, whose nickname is the Bronx Bombers), five being best to zero being worst, Bronx Sandwich Co. gets 3.5 bombers.

For more information about Bronx Sandwich Co., go to their website here:

Bronx Sandwich Co. on Urbanspoon

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