The Sandwich: The Mr. Chips
Where: Dirty South Deli at the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ Mezzanine Cafe, 1250 New York Ave. NW (and on its food truck)
Price: $12 including one side
Bread: Brioche bun
Stuffings: Chopped pork, bread and butter jalapeños, Manchego cheese, cilantro, citrus mayo
Thickness: 4 inches
Pros: The juicy pulled pork piled high on the bun deserves the majority of the eater’s attention, but it’s the accompaniments that turn the meat and bread combo into something beyond the sum of its parts. The Manchego adds a rich, nutty flavor, while the light citrus mayo and cilantro deliver some tang and lightness. Pickling tones down the jalapeños’ assaulting heat, and a pleasant smokiness remains.
Cons: Meat this moist will weaken even the toughest bread, so it’s not surprising that the bottom of the brioche bun gets a little gummy as you eat. Toasting it lightly might help, but it’s not absolutely necessary, since the sandwich is pretty much perfect.
Sloppiness level (1 to 5): 5. Brioche is already soft and adding wet, precariously balanced ingredients to it turns this sandwich into a big mess. Grab a fork to reassemble the sandwich as you eat it.
Overall score (1 to 5): 5. The mix of hard cheese, smoky pickled peppers, and drippy pulled pork come together with the harmony of peanut butter and jelly. The team from Dirty South Deli fine-tuned the salty, sour, and sweet elements to create a weird, messy, memorable bite.