A Hamburger Today

Strip-T's Fried Cauliflower Sandwich Is One of the Boston Area's Best

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[Photograph: Liz Bomze]

The first iteration of Strip-T's, the place Paul Maslow opened in the late '80s, was a lunch spot that served good sandwiches at fair prices. Since his son Tim took over the kitchen in 2011, the food has become sexier and the cost has jumped a bit, but I'd argue that good—actually, great—sandwiches at fair prices is still part of the lunch plan.

There's the Fried Cauliflower ($10) that's filled out with broccoli rabe, pickled peppers, and provolone. That combo sounds like a vegetarian taken on Philly's famous roast pork sandwich, but the flavors and textures are so right on that it almost feels silly to bring up the meat version.

The crusty Iggy's baguette is jam-packed with florets that are crispy at the surface and creamy within; the dramatic color contrast of the cross-section is a true indication of that. Broccoli rabe is perfectly tender and less bitter than it is garlicky—you'll want to order a side dish of it (and you can for $5)—and the sweet-tangy pickled peppers offset the sharper flavors just enough. There's plenty of the cheese, which is the most interesting component. The coarse grated stuff on top hits with lots of sharpness and saltiness like good provolone should, but if you look at the surface of the bread, it's clear that a portion of the cheese melts in the flavorful juices shed by the vegetables and becomes something like a light mornay sauce. Whether or not it's an intentional move, it's a brilliant one, as the rich, savory flavors of the filling carry through every bite of the bread.

Also noteworthy at lunch: The Tossed Salad ($7.50) is easy to overlook but is anything but (excuse the pun) garden variety. The bowl is huge and piled with romaine and baby spinach, ripe cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, shaved fennel, cucumbers, pickled red onions, and spice-rubbed croutons, and a killer balsamic vinaigrette that's sharp and sweet.

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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