You know who have made certifiable masterpieces? Beethoven, Shakespeare, Michael Jackson. That's who. And most of them earned the name (I guess no one's really sure about Shakespeare).
Moving on – When I see a name like Masterpiece Delicatessen, I take it with a grain of salt because I'm aware that hyperbole plays a big role in the restaurant industry. McDonald's? Nothing Scottish about it. Burger King? No royal blood whatsoever. Pizza Inn? They will not let you sleep there. Don't even try.
But Masterpiece Deli, I thought, might just live up to its name. They're got a significant fan base, a cool website with eye-catching typography, and my co-worker (formerly of N.Y., where the first deli was spawned – I think) recommended it.
So with an open mind and a rumbling stomach, I set out to determine just how masterful Masterpiece Deli's sandwiches are. Round about lunchtime today, I made my way over to the Sherman and 17th Street location, one of two Masterpiece restaurants – the other is in LoHi. Close by to the downtown Denver business district, it's perfect for popping into for a quick breakfast or lunch on a work day, or really, any meal on any day.
I ordered a brisket sandwich to balance out yesterday's salad binge, and because I just read this seriously scientific study proving that the combination of meat and bread and cheese is delicious. This particular sandwich contains 12-hour brisket, taleggio fondue (kind of a saucy cheese dip), caramelized onions, red wine gastrique (read: sauce), and arugula, all piled on a toasted baguette. I waited not 10 minutes for it to come out and headed off to eat said sandwich.
The first thing I noticed was how large this sandwich is. Avoiding any awkward comparisons, it was about the size of a Nalgene bottle in length and girth, if you can picture that, and wrapped snugly in crisp brown deli paper.
It was amazing. Seriously amazing like woah. You probably thought I was going to say something sarcastic or subtly ironic, didn't you? Wrong. This sandwich defies subtlety and demands description.
The bread is perfectly toasted and delicious in its own right, crisp and flaky on the outside and moistened on the inside by the mixture of sauces, the richness of the cheese sauce perfectly complementing the tangy wine sauce and caramelized onions. But the best part is that while you're eating it, it's almost impossible to wrap your head around the different tastes. It all just tastes of – awesome.
The bread and sauce are by no means the stars, but they're strong supporting players to the brisket, which offers just the right amount of resistance before giving way and joining the party inside your stomach (in a good way, not an indigestion way).
The sandwich bested me at lunchtime, but I owned the remaining half about 30 minutes ago as I wrote this. All that was left of my orgasmic meal, a crumpled paper wrapping. If I smoked, now would be a good time for a cigarette.