A few months back, I tried out a new sandwich spot on 7th St. that I found disappointingly lacking in preparedness and panache. I commented that I doubted I’d revisit the spot because in my neighborhood, there are too many great places to get stuck with anything that seems mediocre. But I changed my mind recently when my little sister was visiting—she of a very picky palette; anything but plain bread and cheese and meat are pretty much reviled. I decided to take her over to Affettati for lunch after eating pizza and burgers with her for days made me desperately look for a culinary Middle Way. I figured at Affettati, she’d eat a cheese and tomato pannini of some sort (just pizza reconfigured) but maybe I’d find something more appealing than another slice of pepperoni. Frankly, I was also curious to see if any of the kinks had been worked out at this little place.
We went in on a weekday afternoon and were the only patrons in the place. The owner, who, during my last visit, was frantic and awkward, was there, working on his computer. He smiled at us when we walked in the door. When we sat at the sandwich bar and started looking over the (updated) menu, he graciously offered us glasses of prosecco, his compliments. Delightful! I instantly thought that this was the exact demeanor that had been missing last time. The sandwiches took time to prepare. But that was welcome since it means they’re slicing and prepping everything to order. When we got hold of them, there were generous ingredient portions (one of my previous complaints). Sister’s—a more daring choice than I’d expected—was composed of proscuitto, fresh mozzarella, arugula and black olive tapenade, on focaccia, pressed and served warm. It was wonderfully salty and stringy. Mine was a cold sandwich, appealing on a sweltering day. Creamy, stinky taleggio, tart, green apple, chestnut honey and crunchy walnuts, served on a French baguette. It was rich and chewy, and the bubbly prosecco I was sipping didn’t hurt my admiration of the food any.
Overall, it was a pleasantly surprising experience that made me glad to have stopped by and given the place another chance to win me over.
So happy was I, in fact, with the turnaround in service and quality, I went back a week later. It was another sticky afternoon, and I thought of how refreshing (and filling) that taleggio sandwich had been. Unfortunately, on this visit, they were out of green apples, which meant no taleggio sandwich. I was told was they were out of apples because that sandwich is a very popular menu item (which I would think should mean they’re extra diligent about having the ingredients for it on hand, but whatever). Not gonna lie, I was disappointed. I’d come (and brought a guest) specifically for that sandwich and I had to settle for mozzarella, ricotta, tomatoes, roasted red peppers and pesto. Pretty good. Not as good as the other one.
I’m a big supporter of my local businesses and I believe in nurturing customer loyalty. All I want is to feel good about spending my money somewhere. I want to feel like I’m getting something great. Affettati has come a long way since my first visit. As long as they continue to make improvements, they’re on track and I’m on board.