1021 Market Street, East Village
There are many ways to make a sandwich — infinite variables, you might say. But there's really only one or two ways to eat one, right? You either eat it with your hands, or eat it with your hands dipping the sandwich au jus first. I guess I'm wrong again, because when I stopped for a breakfast sandwich at The District in East Village, I was told to hold on to my knife and fork.
I'd picked out the Ultimate Breakfast Dip; easy enough to do because it was the first item on the menu. But its description sold me as well: "Sourdough, smoked ham, muenster cheese, spinach, tomato, lemon thyme aioli, griddled and topped with a spicy tomato broth, served with a fried egg on top." Thing is, I assumed that "topped with spicy tomato broth" was a typo. This was a breakfast dip, so it must be an egg sandwich on sourdough that you dip in some tomato soup. Plus ham, spinach, and muenster cheese? Yes please.
But the menu had it right. They essentially make The District Attorney from the cold sandwich menu, then drop a fried egg on top of it and slather it with the house tomato fennel soup. I suppose I could have tried to eat soup and fried egg with my hands, but I'm about 35 years too old to get away with that in public.
So I took my seat in the casual shop's modest dining room and ate that sandwich with some silverware, and a napkin tucked in my lap. And enjoyed it.
Not for the act of eating it — I'm still a little annoyed that a respectable sandwich shop would so willfully disrupt the process of eating a sandwich. But I have to admit that were I to eat a breakfast of ham, egg, spinach, tomato, and cheese, I would gripe about it after if no sourdough had been offered to balance it out. Same goes for the soup. Basically, these guys saw a need to put all these ingredients together and went with the best construction available.
So, I forked my way through what amounted to a fully adorned ham melt swimming in savory broth. Only, next time? More of that delicious broth, and bring me a spoon to finish the thing off.