It’s no secret that I’m a fiend for an esoteric sandwich. I’ve been a regular sandwich-devotee my whole life and eventually you just get to a point where something out of the ordinary seems appealing. Some of the more atypical combinations I’ve enjoyed would include a turkey-gorgonzola-pear, a chicken-apples-honey-mustard, and a turkey-brie-blackberry-jam. That’s right. I gets down on those funky combinations.
There’s a great grocery store/bistro north of Houston called Hubbell & Hudson where we’ve been frequenting the weekend brunch for quite some time now. Their menu runs the gamut between ‘items and pricing that might be appealing to any schmoe who walks in the door’ and totally goes out into the netherworld of ‘items and pricing that you’d need to be ultrasnooty and/or ultrarich to do anything but laugh at’. Somewhere in the middle of this spectrum lies the entree in question here, one “lobster club” sandwich for $18.
You may be thinking, jeez, eighteen bucks for a sandwich, that’s kind of a lot. Yes. Yes it is. You’d totally be right to think that. I’ve been eyeing this thing up for the better part of a year now, wondering what it might be like. The sandwich pedant in me was thoroughly intrigued. Yet every Saturday that finds us in a booth listening to the horn sections of the Rat Pack, I can never resist breakfast: french toast with bananas & blueberries in a sweet rum sauce, or the traditional eggs/bacon/potatoes done-up food-geek style. It’s a masterfully crafted breakfast that comes in at around $30 for two people, which is next-to-impossible to pass up.
However last weekend my girl and I went out to a Saturday morning matinee showing of the Beatles Yellow Submarine movie, which as an aside was super-duper-badass to see in a movie theater. They had the sound thumping and the quality was great-to-excellent. Seeing the newly-remastered version in high-def on a theater screen was worth about 5 to 10 times the $5 matinee ticket price. I think this may be a blu-ray purchase in the future–but I digress back to the sandwiches–we thusly arrived at Hubbell & Hudson having been awake for a few hours already, as opposed to my usual wake-up, roll-over, drive to breakfast routine. “This is it, it’s today or never,” I said.
The sandwich arrived panini-style pressed, built out of bacon, avocado, arugula, and maine lobster meat. Spread onto opposing halves of the bakery bread there was both “plugra butter” whatever that is, and also chipotle aioli. Those two sauces blended together as a pleasing duet. As accoutrements, there was a stack of what I’d call “seasoned potatoe wedges”, but the menu opaquely listed as “frites”. From the waiter I requested either mayo or ranch for frite dippin duty and happily received both. In the presence of both choices I typically go for ranch, but their mayo was mighty tasty. In typical H&H fashion, I think it was not plain-old-mayo but probably like “dijon-scallion-reduction-mayonaise” or something. They can never just leave well enough alone, and that’s part of why we like them.
I’m not sure I can even recall the last time I had lobster, so that in itself was something of a treat. I ate the sandwich slow, savoring this outlandish, impractical creation. It only took a few bites to reach an assessment: this is what a full $18 tastes like. H&H does bacon correct; crisp and smokey, just crunchy but not burnt. The avocado, a fruit notoriously fickle and often bland, had flavor. The arugula broke the boring mold of lettuce–that sandwich equivalent of celery (flavorless, pointless stuff that makes noise when you eat it). And the lobster itself was quite excellent. Still cold too, in spite of the hot panini imprint on the loaf surrounding it. Two long toothpicks thankfully held this whole affair together as I methodically devoured.
So it was an expensive sandwich, sure, but not an overpriced one–there was genuinely $18 worth of ingredients and flavor present and accounted for here. That’s unlike what that you get from say, Murphy’s Deli or Schlotzkis or any of those so-called “premium” shops, where you end up paying like $9-12 for lunch and yeah the sandwich is good, but be real; there’s no way it’s $12 of goodness. That, and it really wouldn’t be tough at all to hit up the grocery store and craft a sandwich at home that could blow the doors off those, probably for much less money if you calculated the cost of ingredients-per-sandwich.
The lobster club, on the other hand, sits in a different category. If you tried to reproduce this configuration at home, it’s doubtful you could do it for an equivalent price OR even with equivalent quality, which is the true measure of its worth. Would I get it again? Possibly in a few months if I could resist the allure of H&H breakfast. Would I recommend it? Unequivocally. While ostensibly intended for aristocracy, it’s not out of reach for the working man who’s craving something special, and having thusly invested his funds, none shall be disappointed in the craftsmanship and component quality behind this superb meal.