Okay, so the last place I ever expected to find a fantastic sandwich was at Montecito -- the new restaurant from the Master family, open since December at 1120 East Sixth Avenue. Some great fish? Yes. Great apps? Absolutely -- and constantly being tinkered with by chef Adam Mali. And I knew the place would have a solidly California/French board because, well, because that sort of pared-down, grill-heavy, ingredient-driven cooking is what Mali is best at, and because it's about damn time that Mel Master got back into the California Cuisine game, since he played a large part in its genesis and babied it through its first steps outside the cradle of Northern California.
But sandwiches? That one I never saw coming. And yet, one of the very few menu items (possibly the only menu item) on Mali's short, tight board that has never been tinkered with is his soon-to-be signature mac-and-cheese sandwich -- a smart, smart-ass, perfectly Californian and delicious play on words served in the form of a simple cheddar and Macintosh apple sandwich, mounted on excellent crusty bread. Cheddar and Macintosh apple? Mac and cheese? Get it? Yeah, neither did I at first. I had to have it explained to me. Then again, I've never claimed to be all that clever.
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But I do love sandwiches, and this is a great one -- the kind of plate you want to order two of if you're eating alone and three of if you're going to be forced to share. -- Jason Sheehan