This Thursday, March 20, will see the grand opening of Marcona, a new destination for high-end salads and sandwiches located in the heart of Melrose madness. We were able to check out their pre-opening press gala and try some signature dishes, and came away duly impressed.
One of the standout elements of the sandwich menu is an innovative use of vegetables. The Lomo is an umami bomb of savory richness, the kind of sandwich I could easily see myself craving fortnightly, but while anyone can make a sandwich with meltaway slow-cooked pork and carmelized onions, Marcona throws roasted parsnips into the mix. Turkey Romanescu, in addition to tender and generous cuts of meat, has big chunks of spicy homemade pickles. I’m not sure if broccoli and cauliflower quite work as sandwich toppings but once you learn to navingate the shockingly big chunks of blazing-hot carrot, they make for a pretty singular dining experience. The ciabatta bread used on both of these is just about perfect, tender and yielding but robust enough to stand up to the hearty fillings.
The sampled sides looked traditional enough but bore their own stamp. A Mediterranean Potato Salad which looked at first to be excessively rich with dried tomatoes turned out to be brilliantly balanced. Vegan options are plentiful. For the home-cooking gourmet, they also carry a wide assortment of top-shelf imported items.
Based on the evidence at hand, we’d say it’s worth a trip, even worth braving the parking on a weeknight, which is no small statement. For a few bucks more than a Quizno’s meal, pick up a bite to remember.
Marcona will be open Tuesday through Friday, 11:30 AM to 7:00 PM; Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM. 7368 Melrose Avenue , 323.951.9991.