It's still Club Sandwich Power Hour, a Greasy Spoons Week special from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. today, where we'll be talking about all things between two slices of clubby bread. Here, now, Atlanta chefs on what makes or breaks a club sandwich.
· Cameron Thompson, Farm Burger: As a teenager cooking at California Pizza Kitchen, I made plenty of club sandwiches— the essential ingredient FRILLY TOOTHPICKS
· Greg Best, mixologist/owner at Holeman & Finch: Clubs are exquisite assuming the toast doesn't feel like the bark of an oak tree, and there is NO TUNA involved?
· Alex Brounstein, Grindhouse/Villains owner: I'm not a huge fan of mayo, but it is 100% necessary for a club sandwich. Without mayo it's just dry and falls apart. Mayo is like the flavor glue for a club.
· Robert Phalen, One Eared Stag: A true club has to have all the proper components and in the proper order. This is what will distinguish a great club from a mediocre one.
· Ron Eyester, Rosebud/the Family Dog/Timone's: You know, I like it all. But I hate eating tomatoes in the off-season. They can [mess] a sandwich up pretty easily, especially if they're really mealy and the tomatoes are layered against the bacon, and then all of a sudden the bread is getting soggy. There's definitely a science. I remember from when I was working in Charleston and we served a club sandwich— the true meaning of a club sandwich is that it's cut in four, and a lot of people just cut it in half. There's an art to cutting a club sandwich. I've gotta admit, even I've been victim to trying to bastardize the club sandwich by putting something else on it, but you know, maybe you should only have turkey, ham, and bacon on it. It should not have avocado on it.
· Todd Ginsberg, chef and co-owner of the General Muir: Necessary ingredients— smoked meat and poultry, great quality meats with shaved iceberg and thinly sliced roma tomatoes
· Ben and Jennifer Johnson, co-owners of West Egg and the General Muir: Traditionally necessary: Bacon, white bread, frill picks. Well, we would have sworn by bacon as a necessary ingredient in a club sandwich, alongside another meat, like turkey, until Todd's club sandwich at The General Muir changed that (the combination of the crispy pastrami and the potato chips gives the smoky, salty 1-2 punch of bacon).
· Drew Belline, executive chef at No. 246: I think the most important thing about a good club sandwich is great bread that has been perfectly toasted!
· Nick Anderson, chef de cuisine at Rathbun's: A club has to have well toasted bread with plenty of spread being mayo and mustard. Crisp lettuce, bacon, and a slice of tomato with a nice mix of at least two meats with no cheese. I don't like cheese on my club.
· Eli Kirshtein, the Luminary: I feel like club sandwiches are the totem for the "everything on this menu is probably going to come out messed up, so I'll order the..." types of dishes. Unless the kitchen is totally in shambles, while the club sandwich might not be perfect, you're going to get something that you can actually eat, and most likely not get sick from. It is an especially good call when sitting in a hotel lobby— it just feels appropriate.
They are really all about the amalgamation of the ingredients; they are practically a Cobb salad on white bread. While some of the stuff is totally personal opinion, I my think toasted bread is the ultimate deal breaker. I think it really defines them— without it, they might as well be a sandwich packed in a lunch box.
· Chris Hall, Local Three: Just keep it classic & make sure the bread is toasted and there's mayo. I love avocado but that's not cool on a club sandwich......
· Kirk Park, pastry chef/owner at Rathbun's: Things that shouldn't be on a club: peanut butter/ raw onion/ radicchio.
· George Francos, Farm Burger: Nothing better than a NJ diner club, has to be triple decker, white bread toast, bacon in there somewhere
· Ian Forrest, Flip Burger: Necessary ingredients include: really good ripe tomatoes, crisp bacon and really good mayonnaise.
· Lucero Martinez-Obregon, Zocalo: Should have: Turkey, lots of mayo, tomato, and bacon, of course. Should not have: Mustard, pickles
· Jonathan Fox, Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q: Urban Cannibals does a really nice version of a club. The newly revamped Candler Park Market in our hood has been putting out some really killer food lately and have a Great Club with pimento cheese! Pimento cheese makes everything better!