Today’s lunch excursion took me to Souper Jenny. Flying solo, the idea of ordering two sandwiches all by my lonesome intimidated me. As luck would have it, my 2:00 was in Buckhead and Souper J allowed me to meet the two sandwich requirement without having to gorge myself. I have dined at SJ a handful of times; and, it seems the daily sandwiches are designed to be enjoyed with a side or two.
I strolled in at approximately 1:15 and immediately took note of my fellow patrons. Of the 30 or so people inside, I was the only dude (sans an hombre behind the counter). Ah, Buckhead Mommies do love this place! But … would I?
For those of you unaware, Souper J has a rotating menu. Because they do a good job of keeping their website up to date, I usually have an idea of what’s on tap. However, in this instance, I did not preemptively scope things out. As luck would have it, I was unable to order anything resembling a veggie sandwich or a sandwich with queso. While my waistline is happy about the latter, I am disappointed that I was unable to stick to the rules. Oh well, the cheese rating has been appropriately tossed out.
In addition, much like Elliott Street, S. Jenny imports their bread. It’s nice to see a restaurant recognize a chink in the armor and ask for help! In this case, Souper J uses bread from Breadwinner. And now: Let’s get it on!
Sandwich 1: Low fat Egg Salad on a Pita
Ingredients: Egg-salad, diced celery, arugula, and tomato on a pita bread.
This sucker was a bit of a hit, and a bit of a miss. The bread was the definite winner. The pita was thick, not like that wimpy grocery store stuff, and the flavor was distinct but subtle. Ultimately, bread like this should serve as a delivery tool and not as the star of the show. I found it fresh and doughy, aka – soft on the tongue.
The egg salad had very little flavor. While it was far from bad, nothing about the protein invited a subsequent bite. I added a bit of hot sauce to make it a little more noteworthy. Meanwhile, the celery added the necessary crunch to the sandwich; however, this was offset by the excessive amount of arugula.
When I first gazed at the pocket, I saw a slim amount of arugula poking out of the side. Meanwhile, a slice of red tomato sat defiantly in between the green and yellow of the accompanying ingredients. Uh, it’s not tomato season – so what was this doing in the sandwich?
As I took down the top layer, the egg disappeared; in its place, I found nothing but greens. While the arugula was fresh and tasty, the fact that it took up nearly 60% of the sandwich left me frustrated. Given the mildness of the egg salad itself, the greens were to strong and the proteins were too understated.
All in, I would say this sandwich was a satisfactory attempt at egg salad in a pita. Had the pita not been as good, I would have been a bit more disappointed. I think part of the problem is that they chose to make this “low fat.” With the absence of the natural flavor from the mayonnaise, something else was needed to bring this sandwich to the forefront.
Sandwich 2: Romesco-Orange Chicken Salad on Ciabatta
Ingredients: chicken, romesco sauce, orange slivers, and arugula on ciabatta.
After finding my egg salad sandwich to be super green, the first thing I did was check the arugula level on the chicken salad. Sure enough, there was a ton o’ green on it. I promptly removed half of the arugula, reassembled my sandwich, and dove in.
Overall, I found this to be much better than the egg salad; however, there were still some minor failures with this sucker. I found the chicken to be a touch on the dry side. Granted, it was just a tad dry; but, dry is dry so to speak.
The bread had great flavor but the crust was chewy. A lot of ciabatta relies on biga for a flavor reminiscent of sourdough; this stuff did not elicit any sour undertones. I *think* this was ciabatta al latte (as in – I think milk was added to the dough). Though it is quite possible I am wrong on that one.
The orange slivers added a nice sweetness to the sandwich; although, I would have liked to seen them more prominent in the mix. Meanwhile, the romesco sauce left me totally befuddled.
Romesco is usually made from almonds and hazelnuts. Garlic is a prominent ingredient in the sauce, as is oil. It is primarily used on seafood; however, people often use it with poultry. I have a hard time accepting that the sauce used to coat the chicken was romesco. It just didn’t have any of the nuttiness or savory flavor I come to expect from a good romesco.
I guess that the term was simply misappropriated. Despite my reservations about the name of the sauce, the "romesco” served as the perfect compliment to the chicken. The sweet flavors gave this sandwich a refreshing taste that was much appreciated. In addition, this unidentified concoction was used in perfect proportion to the amount of chicken.
Slightly juicier chicken and a bread that did not pull as much would have made this sandwich perfect. Instead, I settled for a very good chicken salad with some unidentified condiment.
Conclusions & Notes:
Despite the shortcomings, SJ showed pretty well. There were some hick-ups and a few problems, but the sandwiches ended up being some of the better ones I’ve had to date. Considering the sandwiches ONLY, I am not dying to get back. If Souper Jenny was not in such close proximity to a “yet to be reviewed bakery,” I would probably eat here a bit.
As a note: American green is the only form of payment you can use here (maybe checks too, but I’ve never thought about using them). Don’t be deterred if you forget, an ATM machine is right by the counter … ready to give you money and dole out that nasty surcharge.
Ratings (Explained Here)