DC at Night

DC at Night

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Dining in DC: The G Sandwich Shop Pop-up

The chicken parm wasn't on the menu
Pop is a popular word in food circles. There is the pop in Rice Krispies, as in snap, crackle, pop. There is the pop in that morning quick food staple the pop tart. And there is the pop of the pop-up restaurants, which have been becoming more of a mainstay in the DC eating scene in the last year or so.

A pop-up eatery is a temporary restaurant. Some operate from a private home, former factory or similar building, or during fixed-time events like festivals. Many of these are set up by young professionals wanting to gain experience and exposure. Others operate in an already established eatery where a recognized chef can test out new dishes or concepts.

The G Sandwich Shop pop-up is a classic case of the 2nd group. Jersey-bred restaurateur and Top Chef star Mike Isabella is using the 1st floor of his popular Penn Quarter/Chinatown restaurant Graffiato as a lunch-time eatery for a few weeks to test out sandwiches and salads that he will offer at G when he opens that new place on 14th Street some time this summer.

We checked out the pop-up G last week. That day the menu featured 3 sandwiches. Judy chose the meatball sub on garlic bread w/ provolone and thai basil. I opted for the Cubano panino, roasted pork w/prosciutto cotta, mustard, pickles, and Swiss cheese. The 3rd offering was a roasted cauliflower hero w/romesco, torn herbs, and pickled vegetables. Although the meatball was good, Judy and I agreed that the Cubano was the superior sandwich. Interestingly enough, we also got an on-the-spot review from a diner sitting next to us, who was with a group who tried all 3 specialties. He said the cauliflower was by far the best of the trio even though he doesn't like vegetable sandwiches. . Actually, that didn't surprise me because the roasted cauliflower I had tried at a previous visit to Grafiatto was the best such small plate I had  ever eaten.

G was also offering 4 house-made sodas. I let our waitress choose for me and she brought the blood orange and lemongrass. Noticing my empty glass, she remarked "I guess you liked my choice." I did.

We finished our lunch by sharing an order of carnival-style zeppole, an Italian dough ball similar to New Orleans famed beignets. The zeppole came in a small brown paper bag which you could shake to redistribute the powdered sugar.

Of course, when it opens, G will be a noontime sandwich shop. However, plans call for a fixed price tasting menu featuring seasonal ingredients to be offered at dinnertime.

Tales, Tidbits, and Tips
Normally here would would offer reviews from Yelp and Urban Spoon, as well as our own The Prices Do DC rating. However, reviewing a pop-up would be like reviewing a Broadway show during previews. You should wait until opening night. So, instead, if you want learn about pop-ups, just click here to access a website dedicated to that subject.

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