Everyday Eats: Chicken Fried Meatball Sandwich at Craft & Commerce
This meaty 'which is easily one of the stars of Craft & Commerce's new lunch menu.
Posted Monday, January 21, 2013, 09:05AM
Craft & Commerce has a new lunch menu put together by Michelin Man Jason McLeod, Consortium Holding's new(ish) Executive Chef. The dual-concept bill of fare is divided into "Craft" selections: thoughtful options you might not expect to see on a lunch menu, like bass with creamy cabbage and carrots and roasted bone marrow, and the more workaday "Commerce" side, with fries, salads, and sandwiches, including the chicken fried meatball sandwich ($11).
The deliciously saucy sandwich is similar to what will be served at Consortium's newest restaurant, Soda & Swine in Normal Heights, with one crucial difference: there, they'll be firing up an antique meat grinder to create five types of meatballs. Jason says that method is best because you can mix the meat and seasonings in one go, without over-handling the meat or changing the texture. You'll have to wait until mid-February to try one, so think of the version that's been rolled out at Craft & Commerce as a prelude.
The "chicken fried" designation is a playful riff on chicken-fried steak. The meatballs are a mixture of pork and beef that are dipped in buttermilk, rolled in seasoned flour, and deep-fried. They're well spiced, flavorful, and moist -- largely because of their fat content, but also because of the addition of milk-soaked bread, something Jason came up with after a lot of trial and error using all different types of breadcrumbs. Deep-frying gives the exterior a welcome crunch, and the marinara and shredded provolone completes the picture of a sandwich that's simultaneously old and new school.
One word of warning: if you like to limit your french fry intake, see if they'll swap the spuds out for tomato-arugula salad; because the thin-cut, seasoned fries and malt aioli are so tasty, the part of your brain normally tasked with self-restraint will temporarily flat line, making it impossible to leave even one tiny straggler behind.