[Pigging by Wilfrid: March 9, 2012]
Sitting in the window of Joe Dough's sandwich shop on First Avenue, I got to thinking about how the East Village is now sandwich central. Especially if you include burgers.
Recently, the Local East Village had me writing about local porchetta panini. There's Luke's excellent lobster and crab rolls, Wechsler's currywurst on a roll, Momofuku's pork buns, This Little Piggy's roast beef subs.
To say nothing of the burgers at Black Market, Black Iron, B.A.D., Idle Hands, The Whitman, The Brindle Room, Peels, Royale, Veselka, The Cardinal, and even 7 Eleven. Sandwich city.
It makes an interesting contrast with Williamsburg, where the current emphasis seems to be on inventive cooking, at Isa, Gwynett Street, Allswell, until recently Masten Lake, and even Brooklyn Star. Demographics? Yes, the East Village is getting younger and studentier by the week, while Williamsburg inches up the social scale.
These days, he also stamps his unmistakeable personality on the gourmet sandwich menu at Joe Dough, a storefront on First Avenue, which also serves a handful of sides and two desserts (bread pudding and s'mores).
Personality? I couldn't bring myself to order a "Conflicted Jew," even though liver, bacon and onion on challah bread seemed tempting. Or the "Stoner's Delight," an upkicked grilled cheese. Me and Joe have different sense of humor (or maybe I don't have one; since when do British guys get to say what's funny).
The "L.E.S. French Dip" called to me instead. The neighborhood reference refers to swapping out traditional roast beef for that deli standard, sliced tongue. The tongue here is griddled, which gives it a little crunch around the edges.
It's piled onto a brioche roll with cool, crunchy lettuce. Too much lettuce, in fact, threatening to overbalance the whole. There's also some yellow stuff which puzzled me. "A strange orange slaw concocted of raw horseradish," said the Village Voice. Horseradish mayo, said the menu. It was okay (just very vibrantly colored).
Responding, perhaps, to some criticisms, the jus no longer comes in an impractical paper coffee cup. It was rich and meaty.
The overall experience, like most of Joe's projects, was a little rich, but I was happy enough, and certainly full, for $10, their flat rate for sandwiches, which generously includes tax. I might go back for the "After School Special" - fried bologna, mustard, chips. I think I can ask for that.
Here's your website.