The last time I was at The Curious Palate, I noted that a good number of their sandwiches would be quite a bit of legwork to put together from scratch. This is one of them: thai marinated chicken thighs, peanut sauce, scallions, avocado and a sweet sort of Japanese pickles on 5-grain wheat. Even if one were working with leftover takeout (a too-often neglected route to quality sandwiches) it’s still a stretch. But that’s what cafes and restaurants are for, after all.
Effort aside, this was a sandwich that seemed better in concept than it was in execution. Bites that had everything were quite good, with the scallions and pickles bringing bright tang and sweet notes to the sandwich. Where they were absent, though, the peanut sauce and the avocado made for richness on top of richness with little to balance things out. Too much richness, I have found, leaves a flavor profile that seems dull, almost muddy. That’s disappointing, but overall the sandwich clearly falls under the aim-high-and-miss I find so easy to forgive. Perhaps the next time I’m out for Thai I’ll have half my meal boxed up and give it a shot on my own.
The Curious Palate is one of those cafe style establishments that is, for lack of a better term, fancy. That’s a fine thing for a place to be, and certainly it would be nice if some of the standard chipotle-chicken-turkey-pesto places aimed a bit higher. But fancy places do come with a bit of a disadvantage, namely that the sandwiches are difficult to recreate at home. Take Mendocino Farms’ turkey confit, for example. You could make turkey confit at home, but it’s a long way to go for a sandwich. (I have no problem going to such lengths and would recommend it to all of you, but I recognize that each individual must make their own investment.) The Curious Palate has a number of sandwiches that would be a lot of work to put together in your own kitchen, but they also have several more straightforward numbers, and that’s not something that can be said about every fancy establishment. So kudos to them on that, for whatever it’s worth.
The Brooklyner is smoked salmon, goat cheese, a roasted tomato aioli, red onion, fresh sliced tomato and pickles on an extremely hearty, crusty sourdough. The salmon’s flavor is strong and distinct, the cheese is tangy and offsets the light smoke, and the pickles cut through the cheese. The tomatoes were fresh and firm, thankfully, and the tomato aioli gave their flavor a bit of depth and roundness. In short, it’s a fine lineup. And what’s more, tomato aioli aside, it’s something that wouldn’t be more trouble than a quick run to the grocers.