Hub Grub

A weekly profile on a favorite New England dish.

Bold Flavors, Great Bread All Wrapped Up in Boston's A4 Truck

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[Photograph: Liz Bomze]

With the exception of the excellent KooKoo Cafe tuna sandwich, I don't write much about wrap sandwiches because I've never liked them. It's the flatbread itself that I can't get past—usually a dry, bland swath of lean dough that, while functional as a tidy filling holder-inner, offers nothing in the way of good flavor and satisfying chew. The KooKoo wrap stands out because the pita is exceptionally soft and flavorful—the charred spots taste great—and obviously fresh. Surely other sandwich slingers can do better, too.

Last weekend I discovered that chef Michael Leviton does. His latest venture, a truck based off of his Kendall Square restaurant Area Four called A4, specializes in piadina—griddled Italian flatbread sandwiches that, according to this Saveur piece, are a staple in Emilia-Romana.

The bread itself, modeled on the restaurant's beloved pizza dough, is smooth, fine-crumbed, and sturdy enough to hold the warm, juicy, potentially messy fillings—in this case, the Kafta ($8.50), a slab of Lebanese-spiced beef and pork sausage with roasted red peppers, tangy yogurt sauce, and both lettuce and cilantro. The beauty of the sandwich is that the bread manages to both corral drippy juices and sauce—hold up the sandwich and you'll see that this is a considerable amount of liquid—and also taste good. There's almost a richness to the dough that renders the crumb moist and tender but still springy enough that you have to tug gently when you bite. I'm looking forward to going back for the truck's other big hit flavor, the Classic: a prosciutto-cheese-arugula combo.

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Also, for anti-wrap purists, these guys fix a mean hot dog* ($4): a skinless grass-fed beef link from BN Ranch (the new faces behind Niman Ranch and the source for all the meat at Leviton's restaurants) that's got real snap to it, an expertly buttered and griddled Pepperidge Farm bun, and some punchy banana pepper relish.

*Hot dogs are served both from the A4 truck and from a hot dog-only stand outside Area Four in Kendall Square.

About the author: Liz Bomze lives in Brookline, MA, and works as the Senior Features Editor for Cook's Illustrated Magazine. In her free time, she freelances regularly for the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, the Improper Bostonian, and Martha's Vineyard Magazine; practices bread-baking and canning; takes photos; reads; and watches baseball. Top 5 foods: fresh noodles, gravlax, sour cherry pie, burrata, ma po tofu.

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