Whether you work downtown or hang out in Highland, Masterpiece Delicatessen has two locations (the newer of the two is in Uptown) that are sure to satisfy for a quick grab-and-go lunch or a sit-down meal with a friend or colleague. But don't let your life intrude upon your lunch at Masterpiece: the roasted vegetable sandwich is a meal worth closing your laptop and setting your smart phone down for -- because you'll need both hands to consume the messy spread of sauce, cheese and soft-cooked vegetables loaded between halves of a crisp-crusted Grateful Bread baguette.
A sandwich built on a baguette can present a bit of a challenge: Where to begin? The rather tall assembly can be intimidating, but get that initial first bite in and you'll find that pathway to satisfaction. All it needs is a little smoosh to get all the flavors in one bite. After a few more bites, some of the caramelized onions may start to squeeze out the sides, followed by a little spinach and some sauteed wild mushrooms. But the kitchen packs in enough substance -- zucchini, piquillo peppers, tomato tapenade, hummus, and Manchego cheese -- to make sure you don't go hungry.
The roasted veggie sandwich is served warm, allowing the cheese to melt and blend together with the vegetables. The caramelized onions and peppers add sweet flavor that enhances the funky cheese, while the tapenade and hummus at additional layers of complexity.
Be warned: this is not a sandwich for the polite or shy. You're not going to impress your new boss or first date when you've got spinach and mushroom hanging from your mouth. If you're uncomfortable making a mess in public, pick your table mates carefully or eat solo where you can dive in with abandon. Or you could try using a fork and knife, but what would be the fun of that? We're not fork fans when it comes to sandwiches.
The LoHi Masterpiece only has a few seats inside so isn't the best for a sit-down lunch, but there's more room on the patio if the weather is nice. The Uptown sandwich shop is a little more roomy, and at either spot the crew is friendly and works efficiently, getting your meal out quickly, so it's hard to complain when comparing other options within a walkable radius.
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The roasted vegetable sandwich came in at $8.50 (including a choice of chips, pasta salad, coleslaw, or fresh fruit), but for an extra 50 cents you can built your own veggie combo. Feeling a little more indulgent? The white truffle egg salad sandwich ($9.50) is another can't-miss vegetarian option.
Follo w @CafeWestword