Lunch, Anyone? Cutty’s
The best sandwich ever
“This is the best sandwich I’ve ever had,” a friend said on a recent visit to Cutty’s. She had just taken a bite of Cutty’s fabled Roast Beef 1000 sandwich. Named Best Sandwich Shop in Boston magazine’s 2011 Best of Boston awards, the Brookline eatery has also earned well-deserved praise from Zagat and Stuff Magazine. To put it mildly: these sandwiches are out of this world.
It’s the pairing of ingredients that makes the restaurant’s sandwiches so unique. Roast beef is mixed with crispy fried shallots, sautéed Swiss chard, and bacon; the slow-roasted pork is paired with pickled fennel, and the ham pimento comes with sweet pickles, instead of the usual dill. They also do a basic grilled cheese ($4.35), turkey sandwich ($6.75), and ham sandwich ($6.85), but why would you want that?
Located on Washington Street, Cutty’s serves breakfast and lunch six days a week. It uses local, organic ingredients and antibiotic-free meats, and the fresh bread is courtesy of Iggy’s, in Cambridge.
The small café has been in operation for only about a year and a half, but has already managed to build a loyal and devoted fan base. Cutty’s owners, husband and wife Charles Kelsey and Rachel Toomey, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and were former editors at Cooks Illustrated. They originally envisioned Cutty’s as a food truck, but got caught up in red tape (an issue that plagues many food truck hopefuls). “We just wanted to sell food so we decided to push on with a brick-and-mortar place, and that’s how we ended up in Brookline,” Kelsey says. “The food truck is a dream of ours, though, and we hope to have one next year so that we can bring our food to a new audience.”
The restaurant is small but cheery. Menus are printed on white butcher paper and tacked to a chalkboard wall. The open kitchen allows you to see your sandwich being made in the back, and the cashier is friendly and able to answer any question about the menu (what exactly is the “gherkin” in the ham Dijon sandwich?). A word of caution if you’re hoping to snag one of the eight small tables: the place fills up quickly so be prepared to wait a few minutes to get seated.
After placing our order, we waited anxiously to get our hands on the Roast Beef 1000 ($8.25), Cutty’s best-known sandwich. The roast beef is cured overnight, Kelsey says, and rubbed with a spice salt that tenderizes and changes its texture. It is complemented by the shallots, the sweet tang of Thousand Island dressing (with an extra kick of horseradish), and sharp cheddar cheese and served on a toasted brioche bun. It’s easy to see why it is the eatery’s most requested item.
Cutty’s slow-roasted pork, normally served only on Saturdays, takes three days to prepare, and is found in the pork fennel sandwich (pork, pickled fennel, roasted garlic, sesame seed roll) and the pork rabe (pork, sautéed broccoli rabe, sharp provolone, sesame seed roll); both are $8.95. But on the weekday we visited, the restaurant was offering a special spicy pork torta sandwich ($7.99) (above): carnitas-style pork, served with spicy mayonnaise, homemade pickled onions, and plenty of cilantro on a homemade sesame torta roll. The bun was crispy and buttery.
If you’re watching your carbs, there are some delicious alternatives: shoot for the tomato soup ($2.95 for a small, $3.95 for a large) or the fennel and peanut salad ($7.95), mixed greens with shaved fennel, crispy shallots, peanuts, and aged gouda, with either a vinaigrette or the tangy house dressing.
Pair your meal with some of the add-ons displayed on the counter, like the fresh potato chips ($2, and a serious step up from Lay’s), brown sugar or chocolate chip cookies ($.95), and classic Rice Krispies Treats ($1.95). Because the restaurant does everything well, one can hope the dessert menu will expand. For drinks, try the Cutty’s Limeaid ($1.95 for a small, $2.25 for a large)—fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and vanilla sugar. It’s tart and not too sweet. Cutty’s doesn’t sell bottled water, but diners can help themselves to a large jug of free tap water.
As noted earlier, the restaurant serves breakfast, too. The breakfast sandwich (scrambled eggs and sharp cheddar on a brioche bun, $5.25) lets diners personalize with truffle ketchup, spicy mayo, or red-eye mayo as a garnish. You can also add bacon, ham, or sautéed Swiss chard ($1.75). Also on offer is homemade yogurt with granola ($3.95) and crumb cake ($1.85)
“We haven’t been opened long, but we’re excited at how well we have been received,” Kelsey says. “We’re really enjoying serving people and having fun while doing it.”
Whether for breakfast or lunch, this is a restaurant worth visiting.
Cutty’s, 284 Washington St., Brookline, is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; lunch begins at 11 a.m. To get there, take the T’s Green Line D trolley to the Brookline Village stop. It’s about a five-minute walk from there. Parking around Washington Street can be a little tight, so be prepared. Phone: 617-505-1844. Cutty’s takes all major credit cards. A menu can be found here.
This is part of a weekly series featuring Boston lunch spots of interest to the BU community. If you have any suggestions for places we should feature, leave them in the comments section below. Check out our list of lunchtime tips on Foursquare.3 Comments