From the day he got a full kitchen at SeaBar (475 Ellicott St.), Chef Mike Andrzejewski has tried to make sure there was something on the menu for people who recoil at the suggestion of raw fish.
“We wanted something for everybody that wasn’t fish or spring rolls,” he said. “You don’t want to lose a four-top because someone doesn’t eat salmon and wanted something more substantial than a dumpling.” That’s why the same place that offers prized raw sea urchin on special also offers a cheeseburger with Velveeta, which only seems odd for a sushi bar until you realize SeaBar is not really a sushi bar.
It’s a good cheeseburger, but you can’t get farther from raw fish than another lunch favorite: the Cuban sandwich ($9). Andrzejewski said it was born of his frustration with trying to find a good one in Buffalo. His version is similar to the Miami classic Cubano, with a few tweaks.
It starts with a split Luigi’s Family Bakery Italian loaf that’s slathered with roasted garlic butter and griddled to a golden brown. Cooks add whole-grain mustard, sliced dill pickles and a mixture of provolone and Swiss cheese. Then it gets sliced Polish ham and pork shoulder that’s been braised for hours then shredded like pulled pork.
Substituting whole-grain mustard for its yellow cousin and adding provolone, which Andrzejewski said helps hold the sandwich together, isn’t standard. But Andrzejewski isn’t worried about authenticity gibes.
“A boy from Lancaster making sushi can’t be too worried about following the rules of a certain sandwich,” he said. “Just about everybody in the world enjoys a pork sandwich with cheese.”
For info, call 332-2928 or visit www.seabarsushi.com.
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