Chew On It
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By Andrew Kochirka GoErie.com staff blogger
Food has been an integral part of Andrew's life from a young age; from cooking with his mother and grandmother to creating recipes in his own kitchen. Now he scours the area's non-chain restaurant scene to find the best of the best of local food from chicken wings to French cuisine.   Read more about this blog.
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Bistro 26

After getting a suggestion to try the food at Bistro 26 and a quick look at the menu online, I was excited to eat some of their sandwiches.  Amanda and I headed up to 3557 West 26th St. around 6:15 Monday night.  There were a few tables, but it was far from crowded.  Some of them seemed to be regulars from the way the waitresses interacted with them. Just inside the door was the specials board with the daily lunch and dinner specials.  The lunch special was a smoked ham and havarti sandwich on a pretzel roll and the dinner special was beef skewers with a few sides.  Both sounded good.

We were seated at a table in the back and our server, Laurie, got us our drinks as we looked at the menu.  When she returned, she informed us of the dinner special and I also asked her for a few suggestions.  She told me she liked the turkey and Gouda  Panini, but she gets it without the garlic aioli.  I didn’t want to order a sandwich with a sauce that a server didn’t like herself.  The sandwich selection was a good size, but the Paninis sounded the best.  Amanda decided on the grilled chicken with feta and spinach and I ordered the grilled chicken with cheddar-jack and caramelized onion. We got both with a side of French fries.  While we were waiting for our meal, we noticed a person at the table behind us had ordered the lunch special for dinner.  Since I was only told the dinner special, I assumed the lunch special was not available.  I was a little disappointed.

Our food arrived and smelled fantastic.  My sandwich was a ciabatta roll with chipotle mayo, grilled chicken, caramelized onions,  Monterey  jack and cheddar cheese.  The mixture of the chipotle mayo, the creamy melted cheese and the onions was incredible.  It was a delicious flavor explosion.  I had one small problem with the sandwich.  For a $9 Panini, I would have liked some fresh grilled chicken.  Instead, they use pre-sliced, frozen, grilled chicken strips.  The grill marks were visibly not fresh and the cuts were too perfect.  The taste of the overall sandwich was there, but the quality of the chicken was not.

Amanda’s grilled chicken with feta and spinach Panini was very similar.  The overall taste was awesome.  The same ciabatta bread was used and it had seasoned chicken with fresh spinach, slices of tomato, crumbled feta and an olive spread.  The tapenade style olive spread was great and the bite from the feta really complimented the spinach.  Like mine, the chicken was the same frozen strips.  I would have much rather seen fresh, grilled chicken that would have added a lot more flavor to the sandwich.

The total for our two sandwiches was $19.06 without tip.  Though this is doable for under $20, I think the sandwiches we had, though delicious, were overpriced for the quality of the ingredients.  Thank you Laurie, for the quick and friendly service.

Don’t forget that I will be picking a reader to join me for a meal on my 8th week.  To enter for a chance to eat with me, send me an email with your name, address and telephone number toAkochirka@goerie.com.

Until next time,

Andrew – Beard vs. Food

 

Bistro 26 on Urbanspoon

Read more of Andrew's thoughts about Sandwiches
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