Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Breakaway Cafe: Giant-Sized Sandwiches Are a Meal

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Breakaway Cafe: Giant-Sized Sandwiches Are a Meal

Article excerpt

The New Orleans approach to food is unique, and it's a good thing, because it has expanded the American dining experience in all directions, from pot to plate to vocabulary.

Take the roast beef sandwich at the Breakaway Cafe. (Take it, please, you'll love it, as Henny Youngman might have said.)

I was having lunch recently with two friends at the delightful little place at 8418 Natural Bridge (381-3554), just east of the University of Missouri at St. Louis, and one of them ordered a roast beef sandwich.

"That's the closest thing I've ever had to a New Orleans poor-boy," she beamed after the first bite. A New Orleans poor-boy, she explained, is different from what we're used to around here. It's served hot and with gravy - not enough to demand a knife and fork, but enough to make it rather sloppy.

By any name, this was a spectacular sandwich. Huge and hot and tender and juicy, with lots of garlic, some onions and a hint of red wine in the gravy, it arrived on cheese-garlic bread, but the additions to the bread were not so strong as to interfere with meat and gravy.

Actually, that was only one of several outstanding sandwiches at the Breakaway. The Breakaway Club is another giant, on three slices of bread, with ham, bacon, turkey, two kinds of cheese, lettuce and tomato. The turkey is not hand-carved from the bird, but one cannot expect miracles, and the combination works perfectly.

Even a plain piece of fried fish made a splendid sandwich; the fish probably had been frozen, but that's not always a reason to be scornful. It was nicely battered, cooked quickly in fresh oil and served piping hot. Even the basic hamburger was first-rate, with some surprisingly good early-season tomatoes and a slice of sweet, red onion.

The Breakaway also makes some fine soups and has an unusual touch to its chili, which is served without beans, in what I consider the classic style. It was ground beef rather than chopped, but it had good flavor, and the sauce, while a little heavy on the tomato, had a pleasing pop. …

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