Pressed Reuben ($5)
This may be the best deal at Lunchbox. Just half of this hefty sandwich could make a small person full (that would be me). The pastrami is top notch, and pickled cabbage is aggressively vinegary in a good way, and the sweetness and thickness of the pickles are substantial enough to be noticed. But it's the marble rye that makes this sandwich. Even my Jewish grandmother might be proud.
Pressed Peanut Butter & Banana ($4)
I'm pretty sure they use overripe bananas in this sandwich, which makes them so tender. They practically blend into the warm, creamy peanut butter. Even if you're not generally a big fan of peanut butter and banana (I'm not) this one might make you into a believer.
Pressed Cuban ($5)
While the sandwich is certainly a good deal for its size, it's pretty middle-of-the-road for a sandwich, and it's sub-par for a Cuban. Voltaggio has substituted gruyere for Swiss, made his own pickles, and added mojo sauce. The gruyere is too delicate in flavor, the pickles don't pack enough vinegary punch, and the mojo sauce? I guess it was standing in for the traditional mustard but I hardly noticed it was there. Supposedly, Lunchbox uses Cuban bread, but it's more like a French baguette.
Pressed Pilgrim ($5)
A play on a Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich, this one layers moist turkey between a very thin line of orange-cranberry spread and cream cheese with sage on toasted seven-grain bread. Fabulously hearty bread, and the cream cheese gives a pleasant silkiness to each bite. You can't taste much of the orange-cranberry sauce, though it did provide a little tang. And I didn't pick up on the sage in the cream cheese until I lifted the top piece of bread. A fellow Lunchboxer near us said there's usually more orange-cranberry sauce on the sandwich, and that this is the only one she orders.
Pressed Cheese Sandwich ($4)
Vermont cheddar on challah. This grilled cheese gets better with a sprinkling of coarse salt and very, very finely chopped fresh herbs. The cheese isn't gooey, but it's melted, and its tang plays nicely with the sweetness of the challah.
Pressed Muffaletta ($5)
Whoa, salt bomb. You'd never be able to distinguish that there's capocola, prosciutto, gruyere, or olive relish on this sandwich, because everything tastes like slightly porky salt. That's a classic roll? It tasted pretty stale. We take our muffalettas very seriously and this one was a disappointment.
Pressed Portabella ($5)
A mushroom sandwich is one of the biggest winners on the whole menu? We weren't expecting it either but this sandwich might turn me into a vegetarian if I could eat it every day. The Cherry Glen Farm goat cheese and the pesto share equal billing in terms of dominant flavors, and while there's very little actual mushroom on this sandwich, you'll get over that. It's also on sourdough (any other sourdough fiends?). As far as veg sandwiches go, this one's above-average-good.
Pressed lamb banh-mi ($8)
This was the special of the day (it's not on the normal menu). Authentic? Hardly. But we're more concerned with deliciousness, and it wasn't really that either. The lamb itself was tender and there was something spicy in the background but overall the flavor isn't memorable. It's more pretty than anything else.
Wedge salad ($4)
You'll recognize the traditional parts of this salad: the iceberg and the blue cheese. The barbecue chicharonnes are an interesting touch but they don't mesh well with the salad. As for the dressing, you'd be hard pressed to say for sure there was any. Probably the least offensive salad on the menu.
Caesar salad ($4)
This salad tries to be too froofy without any flavor to back it up. It's unclear why anchovies are made into giant crackers and not included in the dressing itself (which is terribly bland and under seasoned). Maybe if the crackers were crumbled? They're so big that you take a bite of the salad with a cracker and anchovy is the only flavor you get. The 63-degree hen egg sounded interesting, but it doesn't feel right on torn romaine hearts. Maybe it'd work better on a frisee salad.
Bibb lettuce salad ($4)
Looks harmless, right? Take a bite and your head will get blown off from the vinegar explosion. Someone forgot the olive oil in this vinaigrette. Sure, I love vinegar as much as the next person, but this was pretty unpalatable. The "herbs and flowers" didn't have much discernible flavor either.
Split pea, shiitake, and alphabet soups ($3 each)
These are the soups you should not order. The split pea had an acidic, rancid flavor and was the texture of mucous, not to mention the cannellini beans, which were completely blown out. The shiitake tasted more like a peanut soup with all those roasted peanuts in it. The alphabet soup wasn't awful, if you like SpaghettiOs with al dente letters.
Red onion soup ($3)
Not the best onion soup ever but still a nice warmer on a chilly day. The red onion provides a nice sweetness and the onions themselves retained their shapes and weren't mushy. The soup had an oily film on top, presumably from butter, which wasn't awful, but didn't make the soup any better. I wish the "gruyere toasts" were served on the side in order to add them at the last minute.
Roasted butternut squash soup ($3)
The winning soup of the day. This one is good, and I don't just mean better than all the other flops. The sweet, rich, dense soup was almost dessert-like, and the croutons on top stayed crunchy. Order this alongside a sandwich for sure.
The best way to eat the soup
Take one of the oatmeal raisin cookies and dunk it in the butternut soup. It tastes like sweet potato pie, with the cookie standing in for crust.
Oatmeal raisin cookie ($2.50)
They use both golden and darker raisins, though there aren't enough of either. This cookie is, however, full of oats. It's nutty and chewy with crisp outer edges. Best dunked in roasted butternut squash soup, but delicious on its own with a bottle of South Mountain Creamery milk.
Chocolate chip cookie ($2.50)
Chewy on the inside with slightly crispy edges, this is a terrific cookie. Lunchbox uses white chocolate and probably semi-sweet chocolate chips in their cookie. Two come in each paper bag.