1846 Bacon Street, Ocean Beach
When I moved to OB way back whenever, a friend brought me to Poma's for the first time and ordered me a meatball sub. He told me I'd love it, and I loved it. I've enjoyed many over the years, so much so that I never ordered anything else. Ordering was always so easy. Poma's equaled meatball, and that's all there was to it.
Then I wrote about it last year in deference to the family-owned shop's 50th anniversary. And one recommendation kept coming back to me from readers and friends: "Yeah, but have you tried the roast beef?"
I had not tried the roast beef. I'm on record calling roast beef boring. I've become accustomed to dried-out beef that lacks flavor or character. It's good for meaty chewing, but it's not going to compel me when there's something like pastrami on the menu. Or meatballs.
The Poma's fans were emphatic, so on my next visit I got the roast beef. And I learned.
Poma's dips its beef in au jus. The sandwich isn't served with a bowl of broth on the side for dipping. That's fun, but only if you're really in the mood for soggy bread. No, Poma's dips the beef before it goes on the sandwich, leaving it exceptionally juicy and flavorful while the fresh roll's toasted crust remains crunchy and dry. Except where the au just has started to bleed into the bread inside the split roll.
The sandwich also features shredded lettuce, chunks of tomato, and mayo — plus there's an option to add melted cheese if you really want to get wild. I've tried it with and without, and if you really love goopy melted cheese it's a no-brainer.
I'm here to tell you, even without the cheese this sandwich rocks. It's the kind of sandwich you forget about for a little while. But then, when it comes to mind, you instantly start to crave it. Somehow, Poma's makes two such sandwiches, and now that I'm hip to the program, ordering will never be easy again.