I've been meaning to try Burnell's, which took over the old Mayberry space on Vine street, for quite a while. This year, I resolved to accomplish what I didn't in 2012: go to Burnell's for lunch to try the challah Cuban ($9). That's a resolution I can keep! And let me tell you, I won't be forgetting about it anytime soon.
Challah is an excellent (if not traditional) choice for the Cuban, and I really liked it. The perfectly grilled challah was nice and crunchy, yet soft and yielding, unblemished by the Cap'n-Crunch-roof-of-mouth effect that a toasted and pressed sandwich sometimes presents. Roasted pork, ham, cheese, pickles, and "monkey mustard"—made with whole grain country Dijon, honey, bananas, pineapple, and banana peppers—all worked together to make one damn good sandwich. It was so good, in fact, that it's unseated my long favorite Cubano sandwich from the nearby Cricket lounge.
Burnell's serves some special microbrewed sodas from Fountainhead to wash down your sandwich. I chose the diet, which has the intriguing nuances of a cross between a cola and a root beer.
I finished off our meal with some shortbread cookies, which were hot right out of the oven. Sesame olive oil was the flavor of the day, which was a nice twist. Definitely don't skip the cookies.
About the author: Laura Arnold is a Southern native living in Cincinnati with a weakness for barbecue and a small cheese problem (that there's never enough room in the refrigerator for it all). You can follow her adventures with her husband David on their blog, Cincinnati Nomerati, or on Twitter at @cincynomerati.