Ladies and gentlemen it feels so good to be with you all again on this calm, comfortable spring evening. The last time I inked to you beautiful people 1) the Missouri Basketball Tigers had two young men on scholarship with the last name “Porter”, 2) we all were driving with our windows rolled up and 3) I had reviewed just two sandwich shops in the Greater Saint Louis area. Well, I’m happy to say that at least two of those circumstances have gotten much better since then.
I write to you all tonight from my parents’ front porch, wearing flip flops and swatting away the gnats as they kamikaze towards my face — a welcome sign that summer is almost here. And better yet – it’s time for sandwich review #3.
This review takes us the wonderful The Grove neighborhood – a place that seems to be exploding with more bars, eateries and culture every time I visit. There aren’t many areas in The Lou that feature Tex-Mex, hand-crafted pizzas, microbreweries, calzones and Afghan cuisine all on one main drag, afterall. Oh, and did I mention the sandwiches?
Enter The Gramophone
The Gramophone is a concert venue turned sandwich pub with an army of craft beers on tap and some damn good toasty subs. There is no character lost on this place. The red brick exterior is undeniably St. Louis, and the inside feels just as intimate as your favorite local corner bar. High top tables paired with bar stools litter the dining room to the right. Arcade game machines and pool tables loiter in the back. A long wooden bar topped with beer taps and band stickers greets eager guests to the left of the entrance. On this particular day a man is picking a slow-paced, bluesy riff on electric guitar in the background.
One could be forgiven for thinking they weren’t in a sandwich shop.
A sign taped near the window among posters for upcoming shows reads “Please Order All Food At The Bar”, so I make my way to the tall slab of wood. Two monitors above rotate a lengthly list of local craft beer options — from small-batch brewers such as 2nd Shift, Civil Life and Founders Brewing Co., to more prominent ale houses such as 4 Hands, Schlafly and Urban Chestnut. Today’s trip is all about the sandwiches, though, and it was now time to choose.
Vendor: The Gramophone
Bread: (Fazio’s Bakery) Toasted Baguette
- Roast Beef
- Provel cheese
- Red Onion
- Deli Dressing
- Pepper Mayo
For once I did my journalistic duty of eating the sandwich hot off the grill and inside of the restaurant, and it sure felt like I made the right decision. The Delcortivo is not one to be taken lightly. Not only is the meat stacked high on this guy, but the lightly toasted and buttery baguette offers a flakey crunch that requires careful handling in order to take in all of the flavor. Other than the aforementioned and delicious baguette from Fazio’s Bakery on The Hill, the Deli Dressing (from what I can tell is some kind of olive oil & vinegar mix) really stands out from the first bite. The second bite delivers a kick of smoked goodness in the form of prosciutto and ham, and as I make my way to the belly of this beast on bread, the salami and roast beef enter the mix.
The festival of flavors extends in a very balanced way throughout the sitting. The meat is the most dominant taste, with solid backing from the bread, dressing and pepper mayo. The pepper mayo doesn’t add any mouth-burning taste but acts almost like an accent mark would to the major stars of this sammie.
I really have to tip my cap to the The Gramophone’s flawless presentation of the Delcortivo, and was impressed with how flavorful the sammie was without one over-dominant flavor. My only nitpick here would be that I would have liked to see the provel a little more melty, and the meat a bit warmer and toastier throughout. Nevertheless, this will not be my last visit to this unique sandwich spot on Manchester Avenue.
Overall Rating: 4.6/5