SPBoston decries the creeping menace of thoughtless Italian sub-making. “When I was young an Italian sandwich had all the toppings (along with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of oregano) nestled BETWEEN the cold cuts and the bread. Some times the cold cut rounds were cut in half, so they’d fit better. The cut edge of the bread sort of held the diced tomatoes, etc, in place and absorbed a bit of the ‘juice’.”

They didn’t hold, these magic soon-to-be-mush sandwiches; they didn’t have to. All they had to do was get to your house a block or two away. But these days, complains SPBoston, “they slice the sub roll, lay the full circles of meat and cheese across the roll and then put the toppings on the coldcuts, so when they close it up, the toppings are surrounded by cold cuts and they slide out when you bite into it. And the juice pours out and makes a mess.” Make no mistake, SPB has standards: “It doesn’t matter how high quality the bread and fillings are, if they all fall out, in my opinion it’s NOT a good sandwich!!!”

“Right there with you,” says MichaelB. “The bread->meat->toppings construction leads to the tragedy of topping slippage and is unsatisfying to eat.” The whole purpose of “spreads” like mustard and mayo is to hold toppings in place, adds MichaelB.

itaunas suggests that such an ideal specimen may be found at Sessa’s in Somerville. “They cut the meats to order and take their time assembling it,” says itaunas. “At Sessa’s you can certainly tell them how you want it prepared as they are making it, but the Italian owner … reserves the right to respond in his own way—which he probably will and perhaps at length if you seem too pedantic (the remaining daughter or other employee won’t).”

Sessa’s [North of Boston]
414 Highland Avenue, Somerville

Discuss: Constructing an Italian Sandwich

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