Sunday, December 11, 2011
1602 21st Avenue South
The humble sandwich has been elevated in recent years and it’s a trend that we applaud. Choice ingredients, house-made sauces and breads and creative combinations can make a big difference. Kay Bob’s is hitting the sandwich market with a restaurant just across the street from Vanderbilt Medical Center. It’s run by the owners of Pizza Perfect, which is located next door.
The Kay Bob’s name is a play on kebabs. The meat line-up is kebab-esque in preparation and it’s a simple choice of seven combinations right now. Each sandwich is a puffy, white, flat bread wrap. The Tammie Rae brings ties together barbecue chicken, Cole slaw and melted Jack cheese. It’s straightforward and satisfying. The Uncle Bob is a burger wrapped up with lettuce, tomato and your choice of sauce. The horseradish sauce is a bit tame, but the quality of the local beef stands out with a pleasant sweetness. The sides include crispy and thick-cut sweet potato chips; a mellow and chilled black bean and corn salad; skinny hand-cut fries; and flavorful sweet sesame slaw with a crunch from Raman.
The rest of the menu includes six salad options and a kid’s menu.
Veggie Eater: We started with a Bibb salad; tender, uber-fresh salad greens are sprinkled with goat cheese, slices of pear, and sprinkled with sprouts. We opted for bleu cheese instead of the standard issue raspberry vinaigrette and found the homemade dressing to be light and tasty. My only gripe is that the lettuce leaves need to be torn up into smaller pieces (or use younger greens), because otherwise the salad is a bit of a sloppy affair to eat. Next up was the Dancin’ Desiree. The flat bread was lightly toasted and spread with a butternut squash puree and then adorned with caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, black beans and goat cheese. The sandwich had a slight sweetness from the squash and onions. I opted to pair it with the horseradish sauce, which was fairly mellow and allowed the other ingredients to take center stage. On the next visit, I had Annabelle’s Acre. This is more of a kebab themed sandwich, consisting of chunks of mushrooms, peppers, squash, zucchini, onion and tomatoes and topped with cheese of choice. I found the veggie pieces to be too large, which created a bit of a messy sandwich, as the chunks squirted out the other end while taking a bite. This is served with a cucumber sauce (reminiscent of a raita) and I chose the spicy mustard sauce for my side sauce, which had a nice zippiness to it, both from the mustard seeds and from the vinegar. The skinny fries are delightful: skins-on and perfect for dunking in whatever side sauce you opt for. The two sandwiches I had are in fact the only veggie sandwiches on the menu, but to be fair, there are only 7 sandwiches in total. There are few meal sized salads that would allow for variety for future visits, and I love a good salad with fresh veggies and homemade dressing.
Meat Eater: Kay Bob’s has a Spartan, if serviceable, dining room with the added feature of roll-up garage door-style windows. That will be great next spring, but on one visit it was a bit brisk for our comfort. The staff is enthusiastic and knowledgeable. It will be interesting to see what else they do with the menu. Given the theme, we were hoping for more Mediterranean influences, perhaps a wrap with hummus or some falafel would fit the bill. We suspect they are staying away from such items to not anger the Middle Eastern restaurant upstairs.
We paid $21 with tax and tip on one visit and $30 on another visit and as usual that was for a bunch of food, some of which came home with us.