Brown Bag Sandwich Co.
400 D Street, Anchorage, 277-0202.
Sometimes you know whatʼs going to be a good restaurant. You poke your head in the door to check out the ambiance, grab a menu, anticipating a return trip to try it out.
Thatʼs what happened when I passed the new Brown Bag Sandwich Co. on D Street between 4th and 5th avenues. I passed it and that feeling came over me. A few days later I went back and the place was packed. Theyʼve been in business almost three months, Iʼve been there a few times and I convinced the boss to try it out. He said I hit a home run. Itʼs nice to have a go-to lunch place close to work. If you order out, their delivery time downtown is fast.
Brown Bag combines a cool urban vibe with a simple sandwich menu that features few twists, but is solid and delicious. I like that they didnʼt extend themselves in so many directions that they do nothing really well. They split the menu between 10 hot and cold sandwiches and all of them cost $9. If you feel creative and know exactly what you want, you can build your own.
Inside itʼs wide open with high ceilings, so itʼs not quiet and intimate, but you can carry on a conversation without shouting. A long wooden counter lines the window facing the sidewalk – perfect for people watching. Several low wooden tables fill in the middle, and a couple of high tables sit in a corner. They take orders at the counter and deliver to your table.
My quest for delicious roast beef sandwiches came to rest here. Brown Bag calls their version spicy roast beef, the spice delivered through the horseradish sauce and horseradish cheddar. It comes grilled (on a panini press) on marble rye, but Iʼm not a fan so I substituted rosemary bread. That was a good move because rosemary and beef is a natural match for a savory bite. All the sandwiches come with crinkled potato chips and a pickle spear. You can get a similar version cold for the same price, but the guy taking my order said definitely get the roast beef hot.
The next visit I ordered the ham and Swiss as takeout and when I unwrapped my sandwich, it looked like a poster child for every ham sandwich in America. I took a picture of it. The bacon surprised me, nearly bringing me to tears. The salty addition wasnʼt so much that I needed a gallon of water to rehydrate, it just put another layer of flavor. The accoutrements are what you expect: lettuce, tomato and red onion, all fresh. It worked for me. That was one good traditional sandwich.
My boss ordered the Day After Thanksgiving sandwich that had turkey breast, havarti, and cranberry sauce, on multigrain bread. He said he liked the little kick in the cranberry sauce. I tried one later, but it didnʼt make as much of an impression on me. It was good, with a hefty stack of turkey, but it was more pedestrian that the other sandwiches I tried. Turkey sandwich fans, donʼt let that deter you if thatʼs what you want.
Our receptionist is a fan of the Greek Chicken with roast chicken breast, feta, and what she called a bunch of hippy ingredients: cucumbers, tomato, red onion, spiced tzatziki, roasted garlic hummus, on rosemary bread. I havenʼt tried it, but I can imagine how the sharp taste of the feta would contrast well with the chicken. Thatʼs on my list to try next.
Brown Bag serves several salads including Caesar and a Greek salad all for $5. They also have soup ($6 a bowl, $4 a cup). Your choice of dessert is a chocolate chip cookie ($1). For beverages, they offer Coke products ($2).
The Brown Bag Sandwich Co. will be one of my regular lunch stops because itʼs so close to work, itʼs a decent and fair price and the food is great. You should try them out.