Before you put away the sunscreen and swimsuit for the season and start declaring your love for everything pumpkin and apples, now is the time for one last summer celebration full of tomatoes and zucchini. Even if summer lingers in the Bay Area for another month, produce like pristine, bursting-at-the-seams juicy cherry tomatoes won’t be around much longer. They’re the headliner inside the “Summer Veg” hot sub sandwich ($10) created by former A16 chef Liza Shaw, at her SOMA ode to East Coast- style sandwiches (hoagies, grinders, subs…), Merigan Sub Shop.
[jump] The orange cherry tomatoes are slightly roasted (“conserva”), ending up shriveled but not losing any juice. They act as much as a key filling as the de-facto sauce since there’s no additional mayonnaise or mustard or other added moisture. When you bite through the thick bread crust, the cherry tomatoes swiftly puncture without spewing into a mess. Instead, the tomato water is contained and helps perk up the rest of the sandwich ingredients.
A layer of fresh ricotta cheese provides an earthy depth and fragrant mint is humming in each bite, developing a beautiful adaptation of a caprese with the cherry tomatoes. Mint subbed for basil is a captivating direction for the ubiquitous tomatoes-mozzarella-basil trio to head in.
The sandwich’s dominant component is the pea shoots stacked high like pastrami would be at a New York deli. And I still can’t get over how perfectly griddled the zucchini ribbons are: right on the mark blending sweet and acidic with a kiss of char, as opposed to the over-grilling often found (I’m personally very guilty of this at home). At first I was wary that the crunchy, very thick roll would make every bite dominated by bread, squashing the subtle vegetables. I admit I was wrong. This is superb sandwich architecture. It’s just the right ratio with ample mint and ricotta to cut through the other fillings and the bread all together. And it’s truly a blessing that the bread is capable of containing that cherry tomato juice.
Vegetarian subs abound at Merigan with an eggplant parm, a cold egg salad, and the panelle (ceci bean fritters, very close to falafel) with olive tapenade that is a clever take on the Italian- style sub with a Provençal bent.
The location and portable format of these subs couldn’t be better for heading to AT&T Park with a meal every fan will be jealous of or an al fresco picnic in South Park. Both are just right around the corner. You better get to SoMa now because baseball, cherry tomatoes, and summer picnic weather are ending too soon.
636 2nd St.; 536-2991.