I have been called a sandwich snob. That accusation is false. However, I do believe in something called sandwich theory. This is my quest to find the greatest sandwiches in Madison. Send me your sandwich recommendations by email or on Twitter.
Lakeview Bakery & Deli, located on East Wilson Street next door to the Essen Haus, was recommended to me by a former colleague (shoutout to Parker!). It was a new stop to me, and my only point of reference was my brother recalling he stopped there about five years ago. I chose a melt off the lunch menu called the Bangkok Pig. The description intrigued me: “Shaved pork tenderloin, ham, spicy Bangkok cucumber, relish and Swiss cheese on French bread.”
The French bread was toasted, and boy, was it fresh. Soft and chewy, with just the right amount crunch on the crust to let you know it was freshly baked. Sometimes the French bread for a sandwich can be too chewy or too crusty, but that wasn’t the case here. A perfect light and fluffy base.
The ham was lightly griddled, which gave it a little extra grease to up the salty pork flavor. The sliced pork tenderloin was juicy and not at all dry — bordering on soggy, actually — but wasn’t as salty or substantial as the ham. The Swiss cheese didn’t stand out much all (maybe by design?), so it was more or less a breakwater for the meats. Now, the cucumber and relish were sublime. The spicy cucumber added kick and crispness and the relish brought sweetness and acidity to help balance the fatty cheese and salty meats. I wanted more relish, as it kind of got lost underneath everything.
By looks alone, this was a sandwich that could easily escape out the sides of the bread if you aren’t careful. But the sandwich held together, even without the toothpick that came stabbed into it. There was an imbalance in the fillings though, with too much meat and not enough cheese. The Swiss just kind of hung out on the top of the jungle gym, with a stack of meats in the middle and a dash of relish on the bottom.
This was a big sandwich, but it was gone before I even realized I had shoved it down my face. For $7, it’s a deal. Sometimes you get a deli sandwich that leaves you hungry a few hours later, and sometimes they sit in your stomach like a burger and fries. The Bangkok Pig is a good-sized sandwich that hits the spot without weighing you down.
This sandwich checked my boxes for visiting new places and uniqueness. It was almost an alternative version of a Cuban, with the relish and spicy cucumber swapped in for the mustard and pickles. Lakeview also has other lunch menu melts and classic subs that sound intriguing. I’ll be back to give some of them a try.