In my book, meat loaf is under-appreciated from a culinary creativity standpoint. There’s room for a little flair in the choice of ground meats to use, and also in the amount, and kind, of bread crumbs to add to the meat mixture. Depending on the deftness of the preparation, the consistency of the meat loaf can vary widely, from moist to dry and from almost crumbly to a dense, almost impossible to cut brick. And when you put a slice of meat loaf into a sandwich and think about the different toppings you could add, the possibilities become almost endless.
Saturday afternoon Kish and I took in a film at the Drexel and, because we got there a bit early, we decided to see whether we could find a place for a quick bite to eat. That’s how we stumbled upon Newfangled Kitchen, a practitioner of the meat loaf arts located in the same block as the Drexel. The NK offers different kinds of sandwiches, salads, and soups, but the meat loaf sandwiches are appropriately placed at the top of the menu. In short, the NK gives the meat loaf sandwich the respect it so richly deserves.
All of the meat loaf sandwiches looked good, so I asked the counter person for her recommendation. She said The Fang is the most popular meat loaf sandwich option, because people love the Fang sauce, but her personal favorite was the Southern Melt because of the pimento cheese. I’m not a big pimento cheese fan, but I really like grilled sandwiches, so I went along with her suggestion, but hold the tomato. It turned out to be an excellent decision. The marbled rye was crisp and crunchy, the meat loaf was succulent, and the melted pimento cheese and red onion gave the sandwich a very hearty and much appreciated zing. Kish and I split a bottle of diet Cheerwine, a kind of cherry cola that fit perfectly with the Melt.
It’s hard to believe that the Fang sauce could make a better sandwich — but when you find a place that takes a meat loaf sandwich seriously, you’ve got to try all the options just to be sure. It’s nice to know that, in the future, we can get to the Drexel early and enjoy a little meat loaf artistry to fortify us for the art film to come.