Mayhem & Stout Delivers Braised Meat and Big Flavor
Last Friday, Mayhem & Stout opened its first permanent location (2nd Ave. btw 38+39th), so of course we had to check out the Vendy Award finalist at its new digs to see how their braised meat sandwiches faired the move from pop-up market to brick & mortar.
The menu at Mayhem & Stout is well-stocked, with choices of short rib and brisket, pork shoulder, pulled chicken, and lamb shoulder (not to mention braised vegetarian meatballs), plus a bevy of condiments and add-ons like dragon sauce, black cherry mustard, spicy slaw, and pickled onions, all at ML-friendly prices.
You’re free to pick and choose what you want on your sandwich, but I have a hard time putting something together from such extensive options, so I stuck with their favorite combos, beginning with the short rib and brisket with blueberry sriracha and pickled onions ($9 for a whole sandwich), and it did not disappoint.
The brisket and short rib were braised till fall-apart tender and moist with fat and braising liquid. All that unctuousness was well-served by the spicy kick of sriracha. Besides its purple appearance, I was hard pressed to tell that it was blueberry srirachi, and not the plain old stuff, but it was still good. Paired along with pickled white onions, it kept the sandwich from being too rich.
Next I tried the lamb shoulder with harissa, tahini aioli, and tzatziki sauce. This time I opted for a half sandwich ($6.25). Instead of a half hero roll, it came on a soft, almost buttery bun, good for absorbing excess fat and juices.
While the lamb was maybe not as moist as the beef, it was no less tender and had a good, slightly gamey flavor. The harissa was seriously spicy, but balanced by cool tzatziki. The tzatziki was particularly good. It was less a sauce than a cucumber salad, with decent sized chunks of cucumber swimming in yogurt.
I wish I could say the same about the tahini aioli, but I honestly didn’t taste it. That being said, I didn’t even think about it as I ate, because the sandwich was still seriously good. I’d guess that it just wasn’t strong enough to compete with braised lamb, spicy harissa, and tzatziki.
Since I only had a half lamb sandwich, I picked up a side of roasted vegetables for $2.50. I was hoping to get large pieces of warm, nicely roasted vegetables, but unfortunately what I received a small cup of cold chunks of zuchinni, eggplant, onion, and red bell pepper. The zuchinni was nice, as was the onion, but the eggplant was undercooked and the red bell pepper was neither skinned nor seeded. Plus, the was about half full of the pepper. There was some garlic mixed in as well, but I didn’t really taste it. I guess I shouldn’t have hoped for great veggies from a place specializing in braised meat.
Mayhem & Stout has a number of good beverage options, though, including both Saranac and Boylan’s sodas. They’ve also got iced teas and lemonades made specifically for them by Cup & Compass. I had the rosemary limeade ($2.50), and it was great – not too sour, not too sweet. The rosemary is a surprising flavor, but adds a refreshing, herbal note.
All told, Mayhem & Stout seems to be a welcome addition to the Midtown East area, which already boasts premium sandwiches from the likes of Num Pang. Just be sure to skip the vegetables and focus on that tender, unctuous braise meat.
Mayhem & Stout, 711 2nd Ave. (btw 38+39th), (212) 986-1600