ink.sack’s Sandwiches Are Getting Bigger Before Our Eyes
When the first photos of Ink.Sack, Michael Voltaggio’s new sandwich shop on Melrose, hit the twittersphere I jumped into cautious hysteria mode- furiously clicking for any indication of whether or not this place would be cheap enough to qualify as a Midtown Lunch. The best look I got was this blurry photo, where I could kind of make out a 5 next to each sandwich. Shit. Of course the sandwiches are $15 each. This guy is not just a freakin Top Chef, but probably the most famous Top Chef there is. Oh well. Fuck it.
And then the greatest, most shocking, news of all time hit the blogosphere. I was imagining the 1. The sandwiches were only $4-6. Is this guy nuts? What happened to cashing in on your success? Rent on Melrose ain’t cheap buddy. Buuuuuuuut there was a catch (there always is). The sandwiches are small. And the debate, which will likely rage on for years to come, officially began. Do you need 2 or 3 sandwiches to make a filling lunch? 2 would be fine to keep me under $10, but 3 would be too expensive. So… how small are they really? Most of the photos out there have been inconclusive. But let’s put it this way: if the guys-who-have-small-penises-drive-big-cars adage applies to sandwiches, Michael Voltaggio must have a gigantic penis.
The sandwiches are really small. But in the end I think you could get away with two sandwiches and chips ($2.50) or pork rinds ($2.50) and be completely satisfied. And from a value standpoint, once you order multiple sandwiches I don’t think it’s more expensive than a place like Fundamental L.A., Spice Table, or even Mendocino Farms. But as somebody who loves variety, there’s one thing ink.sack gives you that none of those other places have. The ability to try two different sandwiches without sharing with somebody else. And if I have to pay an extra buck or two for that, I’ll take it. Ink.sack is pretty freakin’ fun. And with 7 sandwiches on the menu there is something for everybody.
The cold fried chicken sandwich features pickles, lettuce, and house made ranch and has already been declared the most popular sandwich on the menu. It’s also the cheapest at $4. (We’ll see how long that lasts!)
The spicy tuna sandwich with sriracha mayo, cucumbers and seaweed (?) features albacore, so just a warning: if you’re an ahi snob you might not be into it.
The one meat banh mi (featuring a pork cheek terrine) was might have been the only sandwich everybody in our group loved, but you’ll probably want to eat it as quickly as possible before the chicharrones get soggy.
At $6 the Jose Andres (aka “The Spanish Godfather”) is the most expensive item on the menu, but you can taste that extra cash. Boar’s Head this is not (we’re looking at you Bay Cities!)
The CLT might have been my favorite, but the chicken liver mousse was unbelievably creamy. So I don’t know if this is a go-to order. The slices of tomato cut the richness a little bit, but in the end it was no match for the mousee *and* the crispy chicken skin (which is genius by the way!)
I usually find turkey sandwiches pretty boring, but this maple pepper turkey melt was pretty great. I can’t say I noticed that it was hot, or that the camembert was melted, but the mustarda gave it a sweetness that was great.
Finally, there’s the “Reuben” which features corned beef tongue, appenzeller cheese, kraut, and russian dressing. Compared to the Jose Andres, it was a bit too mellow for some. But I’m sure this little guy will find its fans as well.
Two sandwiches doesn’t leave you much room for the house made snacks under my $10 cap, but you could probably do it if you shared with a crew.
The salt and vinegar potato chips ($2.50) were tasty enough…
but the BBQ pork rinds were a total stand out. Salty and addictive.
In the mood for something lighter? The vacuum sealed mixture of street fruit doesn’t have as much chili as what you’d get from a cart, but the watermelon with siracha and lime was pretty spectacular.
No one sandwich stood out as the consensus winner, and you could easily go through and nitpick individual elements of each. But in the end, not a single one was a complete failure.
There’s are valid complaints of course. There will be people who don’t love the bread. But clearly they chose it because they wanted to streamline the operation by finding one roll that would work for every single sandwich they serve. And the menu is diverse enough that everybody should be able to find two great sandwiches they love. Some of the sandwiches don’t travel well. There is no seating, and only a few bar height tables, which judging by the crazy scene on the opening week will likely be perpetually packed. They’re not open on Mondays and Tuesdays (which kind of sucks), and they’re only open until 5pm or until they sell out- which happened before 1pm on Friday, but didn’t happen until closing time yesterday- so it’s looks like they should have no problem working out the right amount of food to make.
All in all these little things are a small price to pay for reasonably priced, well designed concept with interesting lunch food, made by a great chef. Especially one with such a big sack.
ink.sack, 8360 Melrose Avenue #107
All photos by me, except for the one pretty banh mi photo which was clearly taken by a pro (Rebecca Fishman). I had to borrow it from her because I was too busy stuffing my fat face to notice that I hadn’t taken a photo of the banh mi.
UPDATE: Right after we posted this Michael Voltaggio made this big announcement.
But does that mean you’ll have to raise the prices? Because we kind of loved your sack just the way it was…
So an already great sandwich shop just got better? Amazing.