Today’s Sandwich: “Red Rooster” (Market Street Eats)

Market Street Eats on UrbanspoonToday’s sandwich is the “Red Rooster” from Market Street Eats, in the Old Port. It combines grilled chicken, bacon, provolone, spicy Thai mayo, red onion, and diced pickles in a wrap.

Location: 30 Market Street
Price: $6.50
Notes: There’s a reason you haven’t yet read about a “wrap” so far, on the pages of From Away. When I hear that there’s a fantastic sandwich shop in town, that specializes in wraps, my mind gets involuntarily flooded with the following items, and usually in this order: California, rollerblading, alfalfa sprouts, and those horrid, oversized tortilla-flatbread things that taste like packing material and make you really thirsty. Unimaginative, pseudo-healthy cold burritos for the spray tan set. My disdain for this particular form of sandwich foolishly kept me from Market Street Eats until today, and now I need to make up for lost time.

Proprietor Colin Rankin knows his sandwiches, and he believes in them enough to put his imaginative combinations inside a less traditional form (recently, Market Street Eats has introduced traditional “submarine” style versions of its classic sandwiches, though the friendly staff will politely steer you away from those). Light flows through the giant windows in the new street-level space, illuminating a giant chalkboard outlining the shop’s most recent inventions, such as the “Slawterhouse Five” (a combination of chicken, melted Swiss, and Thai cole slaw), while you browse the printed menu’s regular offerings, such as the “Roman Holiday” (grilled chicken, lettuce, crunchy noodles, Parmesan cheese, and Caesar dressing), or today’s sandwich, the “Red Rooster.”

As reluctant as I was to order a wrap, I was equally reluctant to have a hot sandwich that included something called “Spicy Thai Mayo.” Hot mayonnaise doesn’t usually move the needle much for me on the “deliciousness” scale, but this was something different: the hot, seasoned chunks of real chicken breast combined with the melted provolone and the spicy mayonnaise into a kind of creamy, spicy whole, almost distinct from mayonnaise. The bacon added a pleasant smoky saltiness, and the chunks of pickles offered a tangy balance that was surprisingly appealing.

The real star of the sandwich, however, was the wrap itself. The giant, flavorless tortillas that I had always seen used in wrap sandwiches was nowhere to be found, instead replaced by a fluffy, Lebanese-inspired pita-thing that pushed any thoughts of those rollerblading West-Coast almond-milk drinking wangs right out of my mind. The pita that Market Street Eats uses almost requires a new term to be invented; the word “wrap” is no longer really descriptive enough. These are some inspired sandwiches, served by a friendly, conversational staff, in a casual restaurant space that it’s easy to imagine yourself visiting at least weekly.

Malcolm Bedell

My first memories of cooking start in Maine at six years old, when I wore a yellow rainslicker to avoid getting spattered by the bacon I was frying in a skillet. You can see more of my writing and photography in regular contributions to LA Weekly, Bon Appetit, Serious Eats, and the Huffington Post, and you can eat my food at 'Wich, Please, located in Rockland, Maine.

  1. Colin rocks. Hard-working, committed to his style, and if you go there more than twice, he’ll know your name and use it. Great service, good food.

  2. My all-time favorite sandwich named for a novel is the Tom Soyer at Book Trader Cafe in New Haven. But today’s choice is a close, close second.

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