Where’s the booze? The Surryano ham and Bulleit Rye sandwich at Salumè, in SoHo.

By Chris Theibert, New York Correspondent

For six weeks prior to getting my first assignment for Eat a Sandwich, I was trying to be a vegetarian. I wasn’t doing it for any important reason, just challenging myself to improve my health. That, and I had a crush on a vegan girl all summer. And I was forced to break edge to write this report. Six weeks off the bloody stuff, and suddenly there I was, in SoHo, back to zero. All for a meat sandwich soaked in whiskey.

Salumè, located on West Broadway and Grand in New York City, specializes in this boozy combo. I walked past the place twice before I found it, and was surprised by its quaintness. It looks like an old butcher’s shop, with a glass counter full of carcasses, cheese and bread, a meat slicer with a protective flesh shield, and six two-person tables evenly spaced across the tiled floor, filling but not crowding the small room. Perfect for a quick bite, dining in or carrying out.

The staff was casual and friendly, and when the gentleman behind the counter asked what I was having, I tried my best not to sound stupid mispronouncing “Surryano”: Bulliet Rye-soaked prosciutto, Asiago d’Allevo, fig mustard and peppermint. $18.

Wondering why I spent $18 on a whiskey sandwich, I found a corner table next to a gaggle of yuppie grandmas. Before long, a waitress arrived with a big smile and a cutting board holding my sandwich. I paused, and before awkwardly snapping some photos with my phone, considered the effects this re-introduction of meat was about to have on my stomach.

Salumè’s Surryano and Bulleit Rye

I pondered my first bite. Snap judgment: Not enough whiskey. I’m not an alcoholic, and I wasn’t expecting to leave Salumè with a buzz, but the subtlety of the rye in the prosciutto was disappointing. On the other hand, everything else stood out on a high note. The fig mustard was sweet and sugary, the peppermint was noticeable and fresh, the cheese was mildly sharp, and the saltiness of the prosciutto evened everything out. I tried to pace myself, but instincts took over and before I knew it the board was empty. Including the small pile of pickled veggies, and the flat cookie crisp that turned out to be baked cheese.

Was the Surryano worth $18? Probably not. For me, if you’re going to advertise a “booze-soaked” sandwich, for that price it better be soaked. Or give me a shot of whiskey to dip it in. Regardless, it was damn delicious. I’d definitely recommend Salumè if you’re in the area, though there are probably better values elsewhere on the menu.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for me to go reset the clock on my vegetarian virginity, and hope the meat doesn’t make me throw up.

Update: I did not throw up.

 Chris Theibert is co-founder and creative director of Choonimals, an apparel company headquartered in Brooklyn, New York. Follow him on Twitter at @CHOONIMAL.

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August 29, 2012