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Sunday, October 23, 2005

S & M Sandwich Shop

I'm pleased to announce the famous Jack Jackson has agreed to contribute his restaurant reviews. Here's his first effort. When going to M & N I like the meat-within-meat sandwich.

M&N Sandwich Shop

By Jack Jackson

It’s called the M&N Sandwich Shop and I know the N stands for Norm and the M stands for misanthrope. My dad once referred to it as S&M sandwich shop. The owners are the sadists, and the customers are the masochists.

My first M&N experience was many years ago, back when I foolishly thought that cleanliness and basic upkeep were essential for restaurants, so I was already a little put-off by the place. I foolishly ordered a turkey sandwich. I remember the look on Norm’s face after I ordered, as if I just told him he couldn’t smoke in his own restaurant.

My sandwich tasted like bleach and I didn’t return until a friend insisted that M&N was the best sandwich shop in town, even if they do have Fox News on all day.

“The last time I went, the sandwich tasted like bleach,” I said.

“What did you order?” he asked.

“A turkey sandwich.”

“No. You’ve got to order one of the six sandwiches he’s got the glossy color pictures of. He’s really proud of his pastrami. Get the Italian beef/pastrami combo with everything and an extra shot of au jus on the side.”

“But why does he have turkey sandwiches on the menu if he doesn’t want you to order them?”

To this, of course, there is no sensible answer, because there is no answer that could possibly make sense. There are, I would estimate, twenty sandwiches on the menu at M&N sandwich shop, but if you don’t order from the six color glossy sandwiches, you apparently run the risk of getting served up some bleach with your meal.

The pastrami, I hear, comes from a famous place in Chicago, and it’s based on a recipe from Los Angeles. With such a pedigree, I often wonder why the final touch to the Italian beef/pastrami combo is a good turn of a microwave dial.

I went back last year to try the Italian beef/pastrami sandwich, and it was excellent. It didn’t taste like bleach. The M&N au jus is the most succulent in town. My friend asks for the extra shot of au jus on the side not for dipping the sandwich (they’re usually too unwieldy to attempt anything like that), but to gulp as a shot.

The Italian beef is tender and tasty, and the pastrami is excellent, if a little difficult to eat with strands of tough fat. I still ride the fence on whose pastrami is better, M&N’s or Manhattan Deli’s, but that’s the beauty of those two places, that I don’t have to decide because both are great.

Beyond the meat and au jus, the condiments are generally good, too, and the bread is always fresh. I don’t like Swiss cheese in the first place, so I say no. If I did like Swiss cheese, I would still say no, because their Swiss cheese is of the flavorless-yet-stinky type that you can find at Subway and is probably imported from the moon. The onions are a good addition, but the sport peppers are sometimes too hot for my liking, and they can make it hurt when I poop.

Thus, I suggest ordering the Italian beef/pastrami combo with onions, no peppers, no cheese, but ask for the au jus on the side (not to gulp, but to either pour over the sandwich or you can attempt to dip cut-up pieces of the sandwich in it).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea, M&N is good but microwaving sandwiches over and over in the same plastic container can't be good...or does he microwave while it's still in the styrofoam. either way the food is good, just don't watch him make it.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

I love the Italian beef and I order it with cheese. Watching Norm microwave the sandwich should be the least of your worries, Lord knows what lurks under the floor boards. Not much for atmosphere and Norm can be a bit of a Sandwich Nazi at times, but the food is worth it. This is a real Lincoln gem.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After visiting this crap-hole once, I wouldn't eat there again if the food were free. Guess I'm just funny about wanting what I put in my mouth to have come from a clean kitchen.

2:28 PM  
Blogger deadgnome said...

This place is about as authentic as you can get outside of Chicago. Simply amazing sandwiches here. I love his attitude. My wife and I stopped in one night after recently moving here. I was referred to this place by a coworker, and the first time I was there I ordered the Pastrami burger and the combo with everything on it. I love my sandwiches dripping wet and filled to the brim with hot peppers and onions and he did it right, so right in fact that I went there like 4 days in a row after my first visit. Well, back to the visit with my wife. She is picky, and I knew that we would see some attitude so I told her to just order whatever, fully knowing he would try to get her to get the pastrami and Italian beef. She soured up her face and just got the Italian beef sans peppers and onions because she is allergic. Norm then proceeded to chastise me for not telling her about the Pastrami, I grinned and he gave her a good portion for a sample. She doesn't like pastrami usually, but she was floored. This guy reminds me of the "Soup Nazi" from Seinfeld, which means you will not find a better Italian beef or "other" sandwich in this town, and heck, probably anywhere within a 5 state radius. Long live this shop and Norm, he does it right!!!!

5:09 PM  

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