Sandwich Republic

$$$$ ($14 and under)

Editorial Review

Keeping it simple with sandwiches
By Justin Rude
Friday, September 14, 2012

It takes only minutes inside Sandwich Republic to realize that the charming Springfield eatery is the product of an experienced restaurant team. The signs are all there -- from the polished, comfortable design to the warm, professional service and well-executed, gimmick-free cuisine.

The four-month-old sandwich shop is run by Sherry Mostaghim, who is known for Saint Basil, a kitchen she owned and operated in Reston Town Center, and her brothers, Alex and Chris Mostaghim, with whom Sherry worked at Bozzelli’s Italian Deli in Springfield.

The counter-service restaurant, just blocks from the Springfield interchange on Old Keene Mill Road, is dressed in warm autumn colors. A few two- and four-top tables fill the small space, and bar seating overlooks the cooking and sandwich-assembly area, where Sherry and her brothers oversee a menu of hand-crafted sandwiches and salads.

The sandwiches, which are served on light, house-baked ciabatta, come in hot and cold varieties, with a selection of vegetarian options. Roasted eggplant is the base for my favorite of the meat-free options, with fresh mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and a balsamic vinaigrette rounding out the sandwich. The restaurant’s most popular selection balances hearty braised beef short ribs with arugula, tomatoes and provolone; it deserves the attention. I’m also partial to the tender, slightly spicy tandoori chicken with a cilantro yogurt sauce as well as the roast beef with havarti and wasabi mayo.

In two visits, I haven’t had a bad sandwich. Some are more exciting than others (the chicken salad and Italian don’t deviate much from form), but by keeping things simple, making as many ingredients as possible in-house (including all roasted meats) and holding prices at about $7, the Mostaghims have found a filling formula.

The concept seems like one that could travel, and Sherry says expansion isn’t out of the question. I hope Sandwich Republic grows into the city -- and maintains its excellent customer service. Last week, after telling the cashier I had to drive 30 minutes before I could eat my to-go sandwiches, I was talked through which selections would travel best. And when I was given my order, I found a small, double-wrapped sack of ice at the bottom of the bag. It’s that kind of attention that keeps people coming back.