The stretch of 17th Street NW where deli/bar/market Duke's Grocery opened has long been a sandwich desert, offering nothing of interest between two slices of bread. No longer: Duke's, helmed by chef-owner Alex McCoy, formerly of Rugby Cafe, now offers a veritable United Nations of sandwiches from around the globe, inspired by the diverse culinary culture of East London.
We tried a few of them on opening day. Duke's sandwiches range in price from $7-$13, and when you're deciding which to order, keep in mind these could easily feed two people.
Brick Lane Salt Beef: Fritz, our dependable Anglophile, gives the salt beef high marks for authenticity, noting a touch of sweetness and spice in the meat. The rye bread gets a bit soggy, though, so you may want to eat this at the counter.
Bahn Mi: Nice bread, flavorful pate and crisp pickled veggies, but could use some Sriracha or jalapenos to give it a little more of a kick. Definitely on the sweet side.
Posh BLT: It's more substantial than your average BLT, and the farm-fresh tomatoes are a major key to its success. We're not sure what makes this posh -- is it the avocado? The fresh herbs? -- but we don't care, because it's great.