I never thought I'd get so excited about a sandwich place. My only real knowledge of hoagies came from Dr. Huxtable on The Cosby Show and I could never figure out why he was so addicted to a sandwich. Thankfully, Taylor Gourmet showed me what all the hype is about.
It all started when two Philadelphia natives moved to D.C. and realized there were no good hoagies to be found. They decided to open their own version of a Philadelphia hoagie shop on H Street NE. After a successful start, they expanded to a second location on 5th/K streets NW. We visited Taylor Gourmet II last week and I'm already planning my return visit.
The interior could be described as modern garage chic. The lamp shades are made of buckets and there is a roll-up garage door on the wall facing K Street.
When you walk in the door you'll notice that the soda fountain isn't your average Coke or Pepsi machine. It features old-timey Boylan sodas made with real sugarcane. I highly recommend the black cherry and ginger ale.
Though hoagies are what Taylor Gourmet is known for, I couldn't resist sampling fare from the fritto section of the menu. We opted for Rocky's Risotto Balls (arancini, for my Italian friends) served with a side of tangy/spicy marinara. I feel really weird saying that Rocky's Balls were fantastic, but they were! Wow, cheesy risotto goodness lovingly wrapped in a thin fried shell. So simple, yet so good.
On to the main event: the hoagies. Each sandwich is named after a street in Philly. B ordered the Ninth Street Italian (genoa salami, capicola, prosciutto, sharp provolone, lettuce, tomato, onions). I'm pretty sure he giggled with delight when he took his first bite. It was awesome. A word of warning though . . . the 12" may be too much sandwich for the average eater to handle.
I tried the Race Street (home-roasted turkey, prosciutto, pesto, fresh mozzarella, lettuce, tomato). It was incredibly good. It was packed with huge chunks of fresh cheese and the bread (direct from a Philly bakery) was soft, yet not so soft that it collapsed under the weight of the mammoth sandwich. The 6-inch was more than enough sandwich for the average appetite.
After polishing off the hoagie, risotto balls, and sugary sweet soda, I wasn't sure it could get any better. That was until I found out that Taylor Gourmet delivers. I think I know what we're having for dinner tonight.
Second Thoughts from B
I've probably said it before, but this is what a sandwich should be. The combination of fresh ingredients was a thing of beauty, but what makes Taylor Gourmet stand out is that each individual element was indeed gourmet. Perhaps most striking was the cheese. You know when you go to a fancy restaurant and order a Caesar salad with the thin square slices of fresh Parmesan on top? Those slices of heaven somehow found their way into my sandwich. Each bite was layered with the best bread, the best meat, the best cheese, the best... you get the idea.
What can I say? It was a gourmet sandwich. A great big gourmet sandwich. I may regularly polish off a footlong at Subway or Potbelly's but at Taylor Gourmet, 6 inches is fine for me... plus, it leaves room for more risotto balls!