FoBoGro has invigorated the Foggy Bottom scene, and I hope to see it grow into the great, standby deli where the employees know you by your sandwich order and just how much mustard you like. They're the cool kids on the block and they're more gourmet than some other local sandwich places. They're some a different kind of competition for the classic GW Deli, a standby favorite for a Saturday morning, bacon-laden breakfast bagel (unfortunately they also use shredded lettuce on certain sandwiches--what is it about shredded lettuce and delis in this city?!). All that being said, I've visited the deli and I would say they're still working out the kinks. The ideas behind the sandwiches are great and flavorful, but the execution isn't quite right. For example, the Brewster, a roast beef sandwich with horseradish coleslaw and carmelized onions sounded great on the menu board, but was disappointing. The roast beef wasn't rare enough, the cole slaw lacking in flavor (couldn't taste horseradish at all) and as far as I could tell, there weren't any carmelized onions on my sandwich. Other friends and roommates have remarked on the sandwich let-downs they've had, and so I've tried to muster up the desire to go there again and get another sandwich. But at about nine bucks a pop, I haven't really wanted to pay for a sandwich that I'm probably not going to enjoy.
I did try the PBJB sandwich (peanut butter, raspberry jam, bananas and granola). The peanut butter kind of had that fake, overly smooth texture and plastic taste (switch to a more wholesome, organic brand!). The jam was good, along with the banana slices and granola. However, the sandwich was just...missing something. Maybe it could have been pressed in a panini, or put on already toasted bread. Maybe the bananas could have been grilled for that extra carmelized crunch. Plain, dry, untoasted wheat break just wasn't cutting it for me.
Something has to be done to the sandwiches to make them zestier and tastier. I come from the land of delicatessens (GO NEW JERSEY!), and I know I'm hard to please. But I've made better sandwiches with a George Foreman grill or my toaster oven and salami from Trader Joe's. I have faith in FoBoGro that they'll work out the kinks (such as wrapping the sandwiches in an orderly fashion, though some of their wrapping techniques are pretty creative). They've gotten off to a great start; they've won the hearts of GW students; they've got the grocery portion down; and now they've just got to become the great deli they are destined to be.
Take a bite: bonappetitfoodie.blogspot.com.