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Monday, August 15, 2011

Cotogna Brown-Bags Lunch to Go

Posted By on Mon, Aug 15, 2011 at 3:05 PM

click to enlarge cotogna_porchetta_sandwich550.jpg

When we heard Cotogna was starting up brown-bag lunches to go for $12, we had to try one.

The restaurant chef Michael Tusk opened as a more approachable neighbor to his high-end Quince seems perfect for the concept, as it specializes in hearth-roasted meats and other brown-baggable fare.

Today's lunch included a porchetta sandwich, a container of rigatoni and mustard green salad, and a chocolate chip cookie.

The sandwich feels heavy, a good sign if you're hungry. It doesn't have the flash of Roli Roti's porchetta or the textural complexity, because we didn't get any of the crispy skin, and being served cold, it doesn't have the additional tang of the juices. What we did get was plenty of sliced white pork, cabbage slaw, and a few raw onions on a crusty, chewy roll. The light touch in seasoning the meat ultimately pays off because it leaves you with a pure pork aftertaste, very satisfying when walking back to the office.

click to enlarge cotogna_pasta_salad350.jpg

We liked the sandwich but were soon distracted by the superb salad. Spicy mustard greens are balanced by cool cucumber slices, with roast artichokes adding an interesting note. We wish it were possible to get a larger portion of this; it would be a great lunch on its own.

We're sampling the chocolate chip cookie as we write this. It's hard to screw up a fresh chocolate-chip cookie -- we'll try your little sister's Easy Bake Oven efforts -- and Cotogna, being a good restaurant, pulls it off even better than she would.

The woman at the front of the house said the brown-bag lunch started a couple of weeks ago, but "since we sent out an e-mail blast, we've been selling out." We arrived a little after 1 p.m. and there were still several bags lined up against the wall. Perhaps one of them tomorrow will have your name on it.

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W. Blake Gray


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