Food Find: The Criterion Collection, Pal's Premier Sandwiches

You know how in 2009 the upscale takeout sandwich at places like Kitchenette and Carte415 was in part a cheaper alternative to the restaurant experience? Jeff Mason of Pal's Takeaway (inside Tony's Market, 2751 24th St. at Hampshire) is sort of upping the ante. About a week and a half ago, Mason and chef Dave Knopp unleased the Criterion Collection, an occasional sandwich made with extra-luxe ingredients. You know the original Criterion ― the classic DVD and Blu-ray series of films from the likes of Bergman and Buñuel, Lean and Lang. Mason talks about his Criterion Collection with all the bravado of an auteur. “These are limited edition sandwiches made with better ingredients and the proper flavor aspect ratio,” he explained by phone the other day. The fancy sandwiches appear side-by-side with Pal's regular daily changing menu. They cost $11, generally (regular sandwiches hover around $8).

Today's Criterion sandwich combined honking gulf shrimp with roasted golden tomato and remoulade on an Acme torpedo, pretty much a fancy-ass po'boy, stuffed with more shrimp than you could stuff your pockets with at the office holiday party. An earlier specimen juxtaposed miso-crusted black cod with house-cured kimchi and slices of Pink Lady apple. How long will Mason and Knopp keep the series going? “As long as people are buying,” Mason said.

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