Restaurant review: Clintonville Sandwich Shop

G.A. Benton, Columbus Alive
The Bobo Pork Belly and Mapo Joe's tofu sandwiches.

Trying to keep up with the next new and interesting food purveyor in Clintonville is my kind of "challenge." Here's another winner to add to the roster: Clintonville Sandwich Shop, a recurring pop-up operating on Monday nights (as of late March) inside Dough Mama Cafe & Bakery.

The newbie makes terrific sandwiches - both meat-based and not - plus uncommonly delicious soft drinks, salads and snacks. Another enticement, though, is that Clintonville Sandwich Shop professes a commitment to "honestly represent (farmers) as the lifeline to our concept" and to "forage, purchase and craft most everything from Ohio, while maintaining complete transparency when we are unable to source locally."

Those sourcing pronouncements sound serious, but the cuisine at CSS is fun. You can probably chalk up said dichotomy to an aesthetic built upon admirable food ideals and the artsy backgrounds of CSS co-founders Jake Holler and Jeremy Purser.

Holler, who graduated from CCAD in 2013 (Art History and Oil Painting) and owns the Companion Baking Company, honed his kitchen chops at The Table, Challah food-truck and Alana's Food and Wine. Purser followed his printmaking studies at the University of North Carolina by immersing himself in progressive farming organizations; he also currently works at Paulie Gee's Short North.

Don't expect a set Monday night menu, but do expect exceptional housemade beverages, such as a tangy, vibrant and surprisingly unfunky Apricot Kombucha ($3) and a fizzy and refreshing Strawberry Shrub Soda ($3). Both showcase concentrated fresh fruit flavor and restrained sweetness.

Four sandwiches (and killer $3 spicy beef barbacoa tamales) were offered when I visited. From the meatless options, Gertie's BBQ Buns ($8) was a vegan home run that might've been called "China in the Carolinas, Mexican style." Puffy, flatbread-like homemade steamed buns given an a la minutecrisping were used like soft tortillas for a filling of jackfruit (a wonderful meat substitute), tangy house barbecue sauce plus a salty, shredded Napa cabbage-based slaw with cilantro and carrots.

The other sandwich I sampled likewise featured a homemade encasement. The Gilly's Sausage Brioche ($10) arrived on a buttered and toasted, golden and glossy roll. Inside were hefty, seared and sliced pieces of lean, sage-scented pork sausage from Copia Farm (near Johnstown) flattered by sweet pickled fennel, red onion, mustard and arugula. On the side was a many-cuts-above kale salad with strips of pickled beets and fennel.

Bottom line: CSS gives you a reason to look forward to Mondays.

Clintonville Sandwich Shop

Dough Mama Pie & Pastry

3335 N. High St., Clintonville