Monday, August 11, 2014

SUNdeVICH Food Review

Half of a Madrid (chorizo, chimichurri)

Fresh on the heels of two amazing visits to Bryan Voltaggio's Lunchbox and G by Mike Isabella, I decided to press my luck with yet another sandwich haven/DC favorite. SUNdeVICH is housed in a converted garage, down a Shaw neighborhood alley off 9th Street, between N & O Streets, NW; so it's safe to label it a "destination spot." I've been known to travel great distances for good food (I routinely visit Lakeforest Mall in Gaithersburg for the sole purpose of eating at Roy Rogers) but is a $10 sandwich worth a subway ride and eight block walk (each way) to get to?

If you're ordering the MADRID, the answer is an emphatic YES! French baguette, chorizo and chimichurri for a tenner... That's all there is to it; but less appears to be more at SUNdeVICH. Ordering is a breeze, expedited by an über-efficient cashier who definitely knows her stuff. Wait times are minimal (less than five minutes) and there's even complimentary water (alas, in tiny cups.) Variety is almost endless: 20 sandwiches, named after famous world cities; three salads and more than a handful of scrumptious sounding sides. Click here to see the full menu.

Alley entrance

Sandwiches are humbly wrapped in white sandwich paper; but there's nothing humble about the flavor profiles. They're also nice & big (one sandwich easily feeds two, especially if you split a side too.) There's plenty of meat inside, gorgeously flavored and deceptively spicy (it takes a minute or two to kick in, then watch out!) Within five minutes, I was sweating profusely. Imagine my reaction to a bottle of Sriracha Hot Sauce, found at each block of tables (as if.) The MADRID wasn't overstuffed, but rather perfectly proportioned (like a supermodel, if you ask me.) Kudos for well-seasoned chorizo, and an equally delectable green spread of parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano and wine vinegar. If simple is your thing, the MADRID is your sandwich.

The interior is cozy and eclectic with a good number of seats (albeit, a tight fit for non-supermodels.) The vibe here is amazing, with catchy reggae music (Collie Buddz, Steel Pulse) and the aforementioned mouth-watering assortment of exotic sandwiches. I can't wait to come back, and try a few more sandwiches with a few more ingredients (Athens, Beirut, Shiraz and the Zurich... one of four breakfast sammies, served all day.) Their Spicy Slaw ($3.50) sounds interesting too... Habañero dressing and jalapeños? OMG.)

The neighborhood is much, much safer than it used to be; but use common sense (especially at night.) I spied a few unsavory types, you probably wouldn't invite over to your house for dinner. Speaking of dinner, grab some at SUNdeVICH: They're open Monday - Saturday from noon to 9:00 PM (closed Sundays.)