Ham, Butter, Dijon, and Gherkins ($6.45)
Simplicity at its best. Excellent ham from Niman Ranch, a smear of butter, spicy Dijon mustard, and a handful of thinly sliced vinegary French cornichons on fresh crusty baguette. It's the kind of sandwich that makes you wonder out loud: "why doesn't every sandwich come with butter?"
The Spuckie ($3.95 half; $7.75 whole)
An old-school sandwich done right. Similar to the muffuletta of New Orleans, South Boston's signature sandwich comes layered with olive salad that soaks delightfully into the baguette. Cutty's adds grated carrots to the mix, along with house-made mozzarella (excellent), and a premium Italian cold cut trio of finocchiona, mortadella, and hot capicola. It's a little small (the layer of cold cuts is less than half an inch thick), but with ingredients this flavorful, you wouldn't want it much bigger.
The Eggplant Spuckie ($3.75/half; $7.25/whole)
Like the meaty version, this one comes with the same tasty olive/carrot salad and house-made mozzarella. Carefully salted, pressed, and roasted eggplant takes the place of the cold cuts, and it is in fact equally successful.
Roast Beef ($7.95)
"I should have named the place Cutty's Roast Beef," says Charles. With ultra-tender slow-roasted chuck, cheddar cheese, a healthy dollop of horseradish-spiked Thousand Island, and a handful of sweet, crispy fried shallots, no wonder it's the most popular item on the menu. Boston may have just found a new signature sandwich.
This is what turns the Roast Beef sandwich from great to downright addictive. Life should come with an "add crispy fried shallots" button built into it.
Chickpea and Carrots Salad ($3.95)
The French bistro classic gets an Indian-inspired curry-flavored twist. Meaty chickpeas combine with crunchy shredded carrots and chopped cilantro along with a handful of fresh mixed field greens. It's too small for a full lunch, but it goes great with half a Spuckie.
Beet and Wheatberry Salad ($3.95)
I would have preferred more beets and less wheatberries and greens in this salad, though the few pieces that were there were expertly roasted and flavorful. Nothing on the menu at Cutty's comes across as overly indulgent, but this salad tasted a little more like health food than the rest.
Bacon, Sauteed Greens, and Spicy Mayo ($6.95)
My favorite sandwich on the menu. Crispy thick-cut bacon from North Country Smokehouse is combined with tender braised greens (this time it was kale) and a mildly spicy mayonnaise on crusty ciabatta. It's smoky, spicy, and extremely delicious. I can only imagine what this number will be like once Charles has got some ripe fresh tomatoes to play with.
Roast Pork with Pickled Fennel and Roasted Garlic ($8.75)
As with the beef, Charles again proves that he's a master of the slow-roast with his Saturday special. He treats his Boston Butts with nothing but an overnight cure in salt and pepper before roasting and slicing. Thinly sliced pickled fennel is simple, unique, and perfectly matched to the ultra-porky meat, while a traditional New England-style sesame seed-encrusted Scali loaf is another nod to Boston's Italian immigrants.
Roast Pork and Broccoli Rabe ($8.95)
A nod to the Philadelphia Roast Pork sandwich, this one's got the same slow-cooked pork shoulder along with bright green bitter broccoli rabe and a few slices of sharp provolone.
Brown Sugar Cookies ($.95 each)
These cookies taste suspiciously like the Brown Sugar Cookie recipe from Cook's Illustrated—by no means a bad thing. Chewy and not overly sweet with a slight hint of molasses, the way a brown sugar cookie should be.
Rice "Crispie" Treats ($1.65)
It's hard to screw up a Rice Krispies treat, and Cutty's does'em right. Available in either traditional or "loaded" (with pretzel, toasted coconut, chocolate, and peanuts), they're fun and not too demanding of either the palate or the wallet.