Today’s Sandwich: Top Round of Beef (Cobblestones)
Today’s sandwich is the “Slow Roasted Top Round of Certified Angus Beef” from Cobblestones. It combines Pineland Farm sharp cheddar cheese, grated horseradish, mushroom aioli, romaine lettuce and sliced tomato on a potato kaiser roll.
Location: 15 Monument Square, Portland
Notes: In the space formerly occupied by the Henry VIII carvery, a new sandwich shop called “Cobblestones” (presumably referring to the cobblestone streets that run through Portland’s Old Port) has appeared, serving up classic NYC-style deli sandwiches with imaginative twists. Their corned beef sandwich, for example, adds a purple slaw and a spicy red pepper aioli. The pastrami sandwich includes caramelized onions, and is served grilled, panini-style. These slight twists and determination to put new spins on classic sandwiches attracted us immediately.
Today, I tried the “Top Round of Beef” sandwich. The bread, a potato kaiser roll, lightly toasted, was barely enough to stand up to the mountain of well-done roast beef. Usually, this puts me off on a sandwich, where I consider the bread as much a feature player as the ingredients; in this case, however, it was enough to contain the ingredients inside, and with as much else going on with this sandwich as there was, I was happy to look at the bread as more of a necessary container, than a feature unto itself. The roast beef was generously heaped on, so much that I found myself removing some and setting it aside. The vegetables were fresh, and the tomatoes were perfect representations of the season, sliced thin, and adding a refreshing juciness to the sandwich.
And it’s a good thing; for as much else was on there, I found myself wishing that my sandwich were a little less dry. The aioli, described on the menu as “Forest Mushroom,” was an amazing, creative addition to this sandwich, with little fresh bits of mushroom spread throughout. I was also impressed by the layer of fresh grated horseradish; the classic companion to roast beef was barely noticeable, not overpowering, and complimented the Angus roast beef quite nicely. My favorite element of the sandwich, though, was the rough-cut, thick shards of Pine Lands Farm local sharp cheddar cheese; it really stood out among the other flavors, and I enjoyed the balance the sharp, puckering cheese brought to the other woody flavors of the sandwich.
Overall, I was impressed by today’s sandwich, and tantalized by the other four “specialty” sandwiches available on the menu. I also tried a bowl of the homemade mushroom and dill soup, which was much, much better than any other soup I have tried nearby. Cobblestones represents a nice new addition to Monument Square: a workaday sandwich shop as designed and imagined by people who clearly think about and care a lot about sandwiches.