Monday, November 15, 2010
On a foggy Saturday afternoon in West Portal, Submarine Center is our idea of the ideal lunch spot. Sub Center, as locals call it, is packed with regulars, many sporting worn Giants caps or Niners jerseys splashed with faded letters that pay tribute to Montana and Lott. Table chatter is heavy with talk of St. Ignatius football and neighborhood politics, usually in that order.
Our go-to sub is the Italian sausage ($6.40). Two snappy, coarsely ground, mildly spiced sausages are split down the middle and doused with rich, salty tomato sauce, blanketed with standard-issue Provolone and heated in the toaster oven, rendering the cheese gooey and the links juicy. The roll is exemplary: The crust shatters with each bite, creating an explosion of crumbs that end up in your hair and on your thighs. Opt out of extraneous toppings like lettuce and pickles. Simplicity is best here.
We love how Sub Center's countermen, unchanged across the decades we've been customers there, claim not to know the origins of any ingredient. Queries like "Who bakes your bread?" and "Where do you get your meats?" are met with disinterested shrugs and quizzical stares. Maybe if we were in their shoes we'd play dumb, too.
Submarine Center: 820 Ulloa (at Claremont), 564-1455.