If Thanksgiving didn’t offer enough opportunity for pigging out, my family decided to preface the big dinner with a lot of great eating. Empanada Boy had already been in Portland for a couple days before my arrival late Tuesday night. Before we all headed out to our beach house in Cannon Beach the next day, we went out to lunch at one of Portland’s many new hipster hangouts: Bunk Sandwiches. Present were Mango Mama, Flava Flav, Daddy Salmon, Empanada Boy, Flav’s friend Sunbutter and me.
As any good sandwich shop should, Bunk has made a name for itself because of its top-notch ingredients and winning, innovative, flavor combination. The line of about 20 people that stretched out onto the sidewalk was evidence enough that this place is more than a fad. Luckily for us, Sunbutter was already in the middle of the line. We snagged an outdoor table, warmed by the mild afternoon sunlight. There are only a few tables and a counter with stools inside the small, funky shop. One wall bears a blackboard with the menu. A lady at the counter took our orders while a man who looked like he took his sandwiches seriously assembled ours on the exposed cutting surface.
When the sandwiches started coming out to our table, sitting impressively atop plain brown butcher paper, next to a side of sea salt chips, I began to understand what this place was all about. Every sandwich we ordered was a work of art. My roast beef sandwich (top photo) was made with rare and juicy, hand-cut meat, sweet caramelized onions and tangy, tangy horseradish. EB and Sunbutter ordered the pork belly sandwich (pictured here), and it was just as unctuous as it sounds. The buttery meat was made even richer with the Gruyere and Russian dressing, but a bright heap of crunchy pickles kept things lively.
Mango Mama’s sandwich looked like a salad on a bun, with vibrant lettuce, hot peppers and tomatoes. But beneath the fresh greenery were layers of salami and another Italian cured meat, along with provolone picante. Daddy Salmon continued in the picante vein with a sandwich made from roasted poblano pepper and delightfully stretchy melted cheese. The crisp bread and the soft smoky pepper made a perfect bite.
Now that I think of it, the creation of the perfect bite could sum up Bunk’s mission. And I’m willing to come right out and say that it’s a mission at which Bunk resoundingly succeeds.
621 SE Morrison St.
Portland, OR 97214