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Friday, August 7, 2009

Hot Meal: Lunch from Carte415

Posted By on Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 2:16 PM

J. Birdsall
The shrimp salad sandwich: Subtly spiced with pimenton.

The cart itself? Probably wouldn't look at it twice, the green canopy and sneeze guard you expect on any crappy coffee and croissant wagon in a downtown lobby. But the sandwiches and salads at Carte415 (in the atrium lobby at 101 Second St. at Mission) have bright, accessible flavors and a kind of meticulously honed quality that reminds you of Kitchenette.

Chef-owner Joshua Skenes thought he was close to rolling out Carte415 (it serves lunch weekdays) nearly three months ago. After enduring weeks of bureaucratic creep, he's done it, just in time to take advantage of peak summer produce. Early Girl tomato gazpacho ($5) had a fiercely concentrated sweetness and vivid textures (including nicely kibble-y croutons). And a salad of Yellow Doll melon and greens with ricotta salata, pistachios, a spritz of Meyer lemon, and vadouvan-spiced oil ($6) was simply the most eerily refined salad you'll eat out of a plastic bowl. Ever.

Carte415's shrimp salad sandwich (all sandwiches are $8) on Bakers of Paris brioche had a light, pimenton-spiked mayonnaise. Quince jam on the Boccalone charcuterie sandwich knew its place -- it kept a low profile, letting the meats be the focus. A Cowgirl three-cheese sandwich studded with grilled rapini and a cherry tomato relish would have been better hot from a griddle -- at room temp, the toasted bread was slightly leathery. Still, on its third day in business, Carte415 is quietly hawking some deeply satisfying food in an area where you might least expect it. More photos after the jump.

J. Birdsall

The cart sets up weekdays in the atrium lobby at 101 Second St.

J. Birdsall
Early Girl tomato gazpacho: A concentration of summer fruit.

J. Birdsall
The Boccalone charcuterie sandwich: The meats shine.

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