"Sorry, sold out for the day." It's a sign I've come to expect to see at Downtown's new hot lunch spot, The Carvery. More than once I've made the mistake of heading to this six-week old sandwich shop for a late lunch, only to be turned away. Frankly, I'd be annoyed if this Gay Street spot wasn't turning out such good sandwiches that are a far cry from deli cold-cut standards.
"Sorry, sold out for the day." It's a sign I've come to expect to see at Downtown's new hot lunch spot, The Carvery. More than once I've made the mistake of heading to this six-week old sandwich shop for a late lunch, only to be turned away.
Frankly, I'd be annoyed if this Gay Street spot wasn't turning out such good sandwiches that are a far cry from deli cold-cut standards.
Now, I will admit I was skeptical when I first saw the small menu of four sandwiches (all $8), plus two rotating daily specials. Could The Carvery really please all patrons with such a tiny offering? (The answer is apparently yes if the aforementioned sign is an indicator.) I'm typically a fan of compact menus-fewer options mean cooks can spend more time making each dish standout.
This is obviously the case here as everything I've tried is boldly seasoned and most sandwich elements are made in house. This includes the ciabatta-slightly sour and soft on the inside with a great crunchy crust-that comes with most sandwiches. It also applies to the glass jars filled with baked goods that tempt me every time I walk up to the counter. These offerings change daily, too, but you can always expect to see cookies (like s'mores and oatmeal chocolate chip) and brownies (think pretzel covered).
The setting hits on all the hot trends right now: brick walls, white subway tiles, natural wood. It mixes rustic, contemporary and industrial into one long and narrow space. Half of the eatery is taken over by the open stainless steel kitchen and sandwich prep line. After ordering at the front counter, move along down the glass divider and watch your sandwich being built.
On my first visit right after they opened, the daily veggie special was roasted summer squash with mango barbecue sauce. Though messy (after several failed attempts to pick it up, I had to acquiesce to using a fork and knife), it was delicious with great barbecue tang and a brightness from the mango. Though pork is The Carvery's claim to fame, I have to applaud the sandwich shop's commitment to offering fun vegetarian options. For example, today's special is teriyaki beets with crunchy radish.
Since, I've returned to sample the house signature Porchetta-wonderfully tender and packed with lemony-rosemary flavor-served with a side of tomato sauce. And, thanks to a glowing recommendation from a coworker, the Turkey, which has become my new favorite. Pepper crusted turkey is roasted in house and carved into thick slices. It's then topped with house cured bacon, homemade mayo, muenster cheese, tomato and bibb lettuce.
There are also two daily soup specials ($3), a seasonal salad ($6 or $8 with meat) and sides change daily ($2) and typically include some sort of coleslaw, roasted potatoes and pasta salad.