With sandwiches being one of the easiest foods to prepare at home, a sandwich shop has to excel on some dimension to draw in customers. Convenience is one bonus and, for some, the raison d’être ends there. Subway opened more retail outlets than any other food retailer on that premise. Others go for more. The quality of the ingredients can offer the consumer an exciting alternative. East Hampton Sandwich Co., inexplicably from the toffiest zip code in Texas, sets out to be the latter.
For example, it offers a lobster roll ($16.50) that came close to the best one in town (that one set me back $25). The buttered, toasted roll seriously strains under the weight of knuckle and claw meat. Lightly dressed, the lobster flavor oozes through leaving my only criticism that the toasting of the roll in a lobster roll is a penitent act and our example could have had more time (and butter) applied to the inside of same.
The only accompaniment to the crustacean is a portion of chips of the first order (homemade in fact). They would prove to be a habitual accompaniment and very welcome — thicker, crisper, and more flavorful than the store-bought kind. I can’t make these at home.
Also walking on the aquatic side was Willy’s crab cake ($13), touted as having a secret sauce. I am not sure that I got enough secret sauce to get Willy a theft problem in his freezer but the meaty crab stood up to the bulk of the poppy seed bun and made this, like the lobster, a winner.
The two most popular items came next: In the turkey, bacon and avocado sandwich the bacon is cured and the slurry of avocado mash is copious enough to moisten the bulky muffaletta bun. One of these would be enough to sate most appetites but the sandwich, like all of the sandwiches here, is not a candidate for Fat American Sandwich Award.
It was back to the poppy seed buns for the fried chicken and Jack ($10), an indulgent take on southern fried chicken with cured bacon and jalapeño cream sauce. There is also a Cuban sandwich ($10), BLT ($7.20), and other classic sandwiches (although I did not see a Reuben). A number of burgers are at a similar quality level to the sandwiches.
Beverages are a strong point at East Hampton, with mid-tier wines (Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay and Pine Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon) and craft beer.
The abbreviated menu and utilitarian (but comfortable) decor scream ‘multi-site’ and that is what they plan to do. There are four locations (all in the Dallas-Fort Worth area) at present but I suspect a franchising or capital-raising rôle will be opening up soon in the ‘C’ suite. Right now, East Hampton is recommended as a sandwich and burger location offering prices office workers can afford for lunch and commuters can afford for dinner.
Andrew Chalk sampled these menu items at a media tasting.