Dish

This sandwich goes to 11

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Dollars, that is—and yet this Block 1912 dish is actually worth the price

Alright, I’ll admit it: I’m totally one of those shallow jerks
who think that price always equals quality. If I see a pair of jeans for
$150, for example, I don’t think to myself, “What a
rip-off!” I think, “Man, those are probably really nice
jeans!” Sure, they’re jeans that I could clearly never afford.
But they’re nice. They have to be, right? They’re expensive. And
it was because of this mindset that, when I noticed that Block 1912’s
blackboard menu just happened to list an $11 grilled sandwich, I immediately
decided that I had to see what such a toasted sandwich could possibly taste
like.

I mean, it’s a sandwich, right? At a coffee place. And it’s 11
bucks. How? Why? What do they make the bread out of—baby condors? It
was the kind of sandwich that gets your imagination racing, and I knew then
that one day I would be back to bask in the majesty of Whyte Ave’s most
valuable grilled foodstuff. Last Saturday, that day came to pass, and you
know what? It’s a pretty darned good sandwich, despite the total
absence of endangered bird meat. In fact, I’d say that it actually
comes surprisingly close to living up to its price tag.

Since I had a gentlemanly game of cards to attend later that night (and my
girlfriend had an equally fascinating essay to write for her film class), it
was an uncharacteristically early dinner for the two of us as we strolled
into 1912’s spacious dining around 6 p.m., but since it’s more of
a afternoon-snack-and-a-latte kind of place than an actual restaurant, we had
our pick of the tables despite the hour. After ensuring that our claim was
squarely staked by our jackets just in case the other 20 or so tables
suddenly filled up while we were ordering, we went and checked out the
blackboard overhead. Well, my girlfriend did, anyhow—I knew what I was
getting. That sandwich for millionaires, that’s what, although I
suppose I did have to decide what I wanted in it. After some studious,
gape-mouthed gawking, I went with the grilled turkey sandwich with a side of
Thai noodle salad ($15.99) while my girlfriend settled on the premade (and
delicious-looking) chicken curry on rice with a side Greek salad ($14.95). To
drink, I grabbed a can of San Pellegrino Chinotto (an Italian herb cola; I
forgot to note the price) while my better, shorter half ordered a house
lemon-ginger iced tea ($2.99). With everything in order, we went back to our
table to wait for our food.

After a short interval spent taking in Block 1912’s, open, arty
European bistro atmosphere, our food arrived in surprisingly gigantic
fashion. Seriously, these are some big plates of food for a coffee place,
which I guess explains the prices. My sandwich was huge to the point of
absurdity—not in an overstuffed, can’t-fit-it-in-your-mouth kind
of way, but in that
I’m-an-italian-sandwich-that’s-diagonally-cut-to-be-the-length-of-your-forearm
kind of way. This, of course, is not to say that there was any shortage of
stuff between those two kayak-sized bread slices, either; rather, it boasted
ample, tender slices of turkey topped with onion, tomato, big chunks of green
pepper, all with a hint of mayo and Dijon mustard. A kingly sandwich, to say
the least. The Thai noodle salad was equally fantastic: a substantial serving
of cold fettuccini and spaghetti with carrots, green peppers and green onion
that was dark with spices and packed a real mouth-punching heat.

My girlfriend, meanwhile, reported that her chicken curry was “pretty
typical, but typically good,” and I couldn’t have said it better
myself. It was indeed a fine chicken curry served on a bed of rice
interspersed with chickpeas, white beans, red peppers and cilantro with some
raita (a cool yogurt cucumber sauce) on the side, but there was nothing
particularly outstanding about the dish, which is hardly the worst thing one
could say. Her Greek salad was similarly good but unremarkable, aside from
the truly stupidly large chunks of onion that kept turning up. Come on, guys.
No one wants that much damn onion, no matter how Greek they are. But again,
these are trifling concerns, and ones that were overlooked handily as we
struggled to finish our meals.

But finish we did, and in celebration, we decided to cap it all off with some
of Block 1912’s fantastic gelato (a treat that I’m pretty sure
you can’t find anywhere else on the strip), my girlfriend going with a
scoop of pistachio while I had a boring-sounding but delicious serving of
vanilla tofu ($4 each). All told, the evening came to just over $40 with tip
(hey, just because there’s no table service doesn’t mean you
don’t have to tip, buddy), and we all learned a valuable lesson:
sometimes, $11 sandwiches don’t have to be made of condors to be worth
the price; sometimes, they’re just that good. V

Block 1912
10361 82 Ave • 433-6575

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