The new Organic Sandwich Company on Pearl Street is very Boulder. It checks all the boxes on the Boulder restaurant checklist: organic ingredients, gluten-free and vegan options, posh Pearl Street location, modern and clean design, and a slightly higher than normal price tag.
That is not to say that the Organic Sandwich Company is bad or trite or derivative. In fact, their sandwiches are high quality, and thread the line between modern and traditional, so you don’t feel like you’re stuffing your face, but you also don’t feel like you’re eating a piece of contemporary art.
And embodying those Boulder elements comes with plenty of perks. The sandwich ingredients are fresh, they come from mostly local sources, they’re free of chemicals and hormones and other bad stuff, and the materials used in the shop are compostable or recyclable.
A cynic would look at Organic Sandwich Company and blow it off as fluff; an idealist would say the concept could change the world; a hungry Boulderite would stop in for lunch.
The sandwich shop offers about a dozen varieties: a handful of turkey sandwiches, some ham, some vegan and vegetarian. There’s also a daily soup, coffee and beer. The corner lot in which the restaurant resides is small, but there’s ample seating for the moderate crowd inside, and some neon green chairs and tables are set up on the patio.
On a recent weekday lunch, I tried four sandwiches: the turkey and brie, the ham and cheese, the beetnik, and the chickpea and avocado salad sand wich.
The turkey and brie was a home run. Served on a baguette smothered with brown mustard, a stack of thick-cut turkey was piled about an inch high around caramelized onions, arugula and sliced apples. The brie was spread into the mustard, creating a powerful, creamy punch. The overall balance of the sandwich was the key to its greatness; thick crust bread, with creamy cheese, cold and thick turkey, with sweet onions and bitter arugula. It was well done.
The ham and cheese sandwich came on a pretzel bun. The cheese was gruyere, a personal favorite, and the ham was thinly shredded so as to unlock flavor. It was piled with crisp lettuce, red onion and honey mustard. It came on a pretzel bun, which had been engineered for sandwiches, clearly. It was moist and dense, and slightly chewy.
The sandwiches at Organic Sandwich Company will look small. And, in fact, they’re no deli-style or foot-long hoagie. You might expect more from the $10-$12 price tag for a sandwich no longer than the size of your hand. But what you pay for is the quality, clearly.
The beetnik sandwich also came on a pretzel roll, which helped amplify some of the flavors in the beets. The brown flavor of baked pretzel and the large salt morsels baked in made the roasted and golden beets pop. There was also a nice almond feta cheese on there, which tasted sort of like feta, but mostly like almonds. But that worked for the earthiness in the beetnik.
The last sandwich was the chickpea and avocado salad. It came between two nice slices of country multigrain bread. The bread retained enough integrity throughout, which was remarkable given the goopiness of the chickpea salad. The salad was made of chickpeas, avocado, scallions, cilantro and lime, and it was topped with thinly sliced tomatoes and cucumbers. There was also some cutting of home grown herbs behind the counter that were put on the sandwich, which I’m always a sucker for.
So Organic Sandwich Company may be a little familiar and a little pricey, but for a nice, healthy lunch downtown, it’s a good option.