Cubano at 7 Sandwich

Traditional sandwiches -- with a twist -- from all over the world

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By David Hammond

Although the website for 7 Sandwich promises a different type of sandwich, what they seem to be offering are traditional sandwiches from all over the world, which is cool. The way these sandwiches are "different" is that 7 Sandwich slightly modifies some of the traditional recipes.

For instance, the Pastor Torta is inspired by the Mexican Tacos al Pastor, usually seasoned pork cooked on a vertical spit, sliced off and wrapped in a tortilla, dressed with a tiny bit of onion and pineapple. 7 Sandwich serves the meat in a sandwich with a good deal of pineapple.

The Thai Beef Roll seems to be an interpretation of the Vietnamese Bahn Mi, only on a sesame seed roll rather than a roll of French-type bread, which is what is used in Vietnam.

Having seen Jon Favreau's Chef recently, I was in the mood for a Cubano, so that's what I ordered.

The Cubano, or "Cuban sandwich," is usually attributed to Cuban immigrants to Florida. It's not a complicated sandwich: roasted pork, ham, pickle, mustard.

Of course, as with many traditional foods, there's some disagreement about what version is truly "authentic." In northern Florida, they add salami (probably because they have a fair number of Italians living there); in southern Florida, adding salami would be anathema. In truth, I have never had it with salami.

With or without salami, what elevates the Cubano is the plancha, a clam-shell type grill that presses warm metal against both sides of the sandwich and makes it so much more than just a ham n' cheese.

All the ingredients in the Cubano at 7 Sandwich were very good – and the housemade potato chips were excellent – though my sandwich could have used a few more seconds on the plancha to melt the cheese…or at least warm it a little more. More time on the plancha would also crisp up the crust of the roll, which adds the appealing crunch of the typical Cubano.

There's a lot of very good-sounding sandwiches served at 7 Sandwich shop, making it a welcome lunchtime option in downtown Oak Park.


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Posted: November 18th, 2014 8:49 AM

Don't understand the writer's tepid praise of this restaurant. The food is outstanding! And different -- you won't find the usual BLT, ham and cheese, etc. I wandered into this place w/out high expectations...was surprised to find a gourmet treat at reasonable prices. (My other fav: Munch on Marion St .)

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