Chefs often take creative license with traditional foods and put their own twist on a classic. Porchetta, the celebrated Italian roast pork dish, is often found on sandwiches and outside of the traditional center-table main course. So, when I spied the Porchetta Sandwich, a relatively new offering, on the menu at The Dunlavy (3422 Allen Parkway), my interest was piqued.
That was especially true when ticking off the ingredients: red onion, caper aioli, parsley and...pork belly. Let me just clarify that I'm a bigger fan of belly than it's cured and smoked varietal, bacon. Maybe it isn't quite porchetta in the traditional sense, but roasted pork belly sounds like a damn fine substitute.
Still, I wasn't exactly 100 percent sure what I was getting when I ordered. What arrived was tender, fatty pork on a crunch ciabatta roll. The caper aioli was tangy and acidic, as were the red onions. The flat-leaf parsley was heaped on the sandwich much the way lettuce would be, which was a fascinating choice — the grassy flavor brought lively freshness and cut through the acid. And the melty roast pork belly delivered a deep, rich flavor that was the heart of the dish.
It's difficult for me to label a sandwich elevated for any reason. It is, after all, a sandwich. But, the ingredients certainly were unique and remarkably balanced. So, it wasn't traditional porchetta, but it was close enough and who cares really when it is this good.
If you have a sandwich you think is one of the best in town, hit us up. We're always looking for new options.