Everyone knows how long I’ve been waiting to go to ink. (I was just about to confirm a reservation on Sunday 9/25 but it got taken as I was clicking the button). So when Michael Voltaggio announced last month that he was opening a sandwich shop on the same block as the restaurant (opening tomorrow), I was as giddy as a schoolgirl. . However, they’re only open until 4pm from Wednesday to Sunday, and usually sell out before then. So I didn’t have a chance to make it out there until last Friday, when I decided to give myself an extended lunch (due to the somber mood at work).
There was a line out the door, but it moved fairly quickly. I probably waited around ten minutes in line, and another ten for my order – not bad at all when the wait on opening week was in excess of an hour. When you approach the cashier, you give your name for them to write on your black lunch sack. I had wanted to order all seven sandwich on their menu (read the SE article on details of all seven), but I had heard that there was a six-sandwich maximum. However, that limit has been lifted, and they sold out of the CLT sandwich already anyways. So I ordered the six other varieties, all of them four-inch sandwiches on a mini baguette-esque roll with everything made in-house (besides the meats in the Jose Andres sandwich and the bread I believe). Yes, they’re small, but the sandwiches are priced from four to six dollars each, so ordering multiples to mix and match are encouraged.
Besides the sandwiches, they make their sides in-house as well. These chips tasted like a more oily version of kettle chips. Not sure where the crab part comes in, but I believe I tasted Old Bay seasoning, so maybe the “crab” was in reference to that. Not bad at all.
I thought that this was a pretty good sandwich, but it was probably on the bottom two of the six I was able to try. The miso-cured albacore with sriracha mayo was actually on the light side in terms of flavor in my opinion, but the seaweed was a nice touch. The tomatoes weren’t necessarily though.
I believe the beef tongue is cooked sous-vide, which gave it a nice texture. But like the spicy tuna sandwich, the flavor is on the lighter side. I wanted some of that cured meats taste you get in good deli sandwiches. And a small problem with using the same bread for all the sandwich varieties is that they’re not necessarily tailor-made for each specific combination. But still pretty good.
This was supposed to be the sandwich that got left out if I was limited to six. But it was a pleasant surprise. Turkey melt just sounds so boring, but this was anything but, due to the mostarda (an Italian condiment of candied fruit and mustard-flavored syrup). That and the Camembert (soft-ripened cow’s milk cheese – think of an awesome version of Laughing Cow) just gave this sandwich a nice balance of sweet and savory.
I really wanted to love this, but instead I just kind of like it. Arguably my least favorite of the sandwiches. The chicken is actually cooked very well – first cooked sous-vide, then fried I believe. The house-made ranch and hot sauce are nice touches. But it’s the breading that bothered me. Way too soggy in my opinion.
This might have been my favorite of the day. It tasted like an actual banh mi! The chicharrones gave it a nice crunchy contrast, since the bread doesn’t provide the crisp a usual banh mi baguette provides. I can just imagine how much better this could’ve even been with some of the chicken liver mousse from the CLT sandwich.
Three nice cured Spanish meats (Serrano ham, chorizo, lomo) topped with some vinegar-y peppers and manchego cheese. This is like a very fancy version of the Italian sub at Subway, in a powerful miniature package. Can’t go wrong here with that combination.
I tried to not have too high of expectations when eating the sandwiches from ink.sack, since those expectations would’ve been unfairly carried over from my anticipation over ink. And once I was able to overcome those feelings, what was left was the experience of eating some pretty good to very good sandwiches. None of them really impressed me too much, but I did appreciate the varieties offered. And no, I didn’t finish all six sandwiches in one lunch. I’ll need to go back and try the CLT, and some of the other sides. As for any possible repeats, I think I’ll go with the banh mi, turkey melt and Jose Andres. Or I can order all seven!
Chris Hei grade: B
8360 Melrose Ave, Ste 107
Los Angeles, CA 90069