The Sandwich: The Kraftwerk
Where: Songbyrd Record Cafe, 2477 18th St. NW
Price: $10, including one side
Bread: Sourdough toast
Stuffings: Chicken schnitzel, Brie and Gournay cheeses, rotkraut, raspberry sauce
Thickness: 3 inches
Pros: Many of the sandwiches at Songbyrd are named after different musical artists, and the Kraftwerk pays tribute to both the German electronic band and a traditional German sandwich. The schnitzel, which could taste too bready on a sandwich, adds just enough salty crispness without feeling heavy or dull, while the tangy red cabbage kraut contrasts the rich, oozing cheese.
Cons: The raspberry sauce tastes like warm jam—it’s shockingly sweet and doesn’t blend well with the rest of the ingredients. Meanwhile, the sourdough is sliced so thin that its surface cracks, leaving your hands coated with a sticky film of sauce and cheese.
Sloppiness level (1 to 5): 3.5. The kraut mix falls out the back of the sandwich, melted cheese leaks from the top, and you’re left trying to reassemble the sandwich on tiny scraps of bread. Thankfully, Songbyrd serves all of its sandwiches on round, high walled trays, so at least your mess is contained.
Overall score (1 to 5): 3.5. While the idea of this schnitzel sandwich is a good one (D.C. deserves more German options), the execution and strange flavor choices prevent the Kraftwerk from fully working. Swap the sugary raspberry sauce for something saltier (mushroom gravy) or more acidic (what’s a German meal without mustard?), and it will really sing.
Photo by Caroline Jones