A couple of weeks ago, I had a fabulous toad in the hole at the Crosby: over-easy quail eggs, a fat strip of Canadian bacon, bread that cracked perfectly with each bite. I was looking forward to ordering it again yesterday–but it wasn't there.
In addition to chef Aron Habiger's longstanding sandwiches–the Starving Artist, his take on cochinita pibil, and a good-great chicken sammy–the ElMo native is now on a self-proclaimed sandwich kick. On the menu was a tongue-and-cheek take that also had headcheese in it–my gawd, did we go back in time to the 1930s? And it wasn't just any tongue–it was blut zungewurst, German-style blood tongue that Habiger ordered from Mattern Deli. Wasn't in the mood for blood yesterday, however, so I decided to get the other sandwich available: the pork belly hoagie.
Oh dear…that stalk of lightly grilled green onion? Genius. The overabundance of pork belly fried to crispy perfection? Amazing. The homemade sweet pickles? Beautiful. There was a bit too much creamy sauce, making the sandwich a bit of a mess–but all that meant was you got to drag the hoagie through the plate to sop up those juice. I'm still not sure what that dollop on the southwest portion of the plate was, but that was the Manhattan confusing me, not the plate.
I asked Habiger if he was on a sandwich kick, and he said yes. Then I challenged him to update the liverwurst sandwich, that iconic cut of hard times and ethnic Europeans. Habiger smiled. “Let's just say I've got something going on that,” he said. And with that, he disappeared into his den of creation.