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 or Instagram.
I ventured back downtown this week to Marigold Kitchen, a hip breakfast and lunch spot right off the Capitol Square. It’s got an urban look that plays off the space’s natural wood tones, including a distressed wood accent wall to the left of the counter bar. Salsa music played overhead as I sat down at the bar to await my hot ham and Swiss sandwich, consisting of stone-ground mustard, tomato, lettuce and aioli on grilled sourdough.
The sourdough was grilled to golden perfection. It was sliced at mama bear thickness — not too thick, but not too thin. Any grilled or hot sandwich needs a solid base for the makings, and we started off with a solid crunch on this one.
The overall flavor was fantastic. The aioli added creaminess on the bottom of the sandwich, which helped cut the saltiness of the ham. The mustard at the top was a little sweet, and the lettuce and tomato added the crunch. The Swiss, though, disappeared a bit and I wanted more makings for a heftier sandwich.
Our architecture got a little sloppy, which could have been a result of the lunch rush. Each half of the sandwich had two slices of tomato stacked on top of each other, which created some balance issues. My last bite was pretty much just cheese (found it!), veggies, dressings and bread.
At $13 — a side of red cabbage coleslaw is included — we’re on the higher end price-wise for a smaller sized sandwich, but we are on the Square. It was packed during the lunch hour, with a couple six-plus tables and a stack of orders waiting to be picked up by the counter. Given the rush, my sandwich came out quicker than I expected.
Part of my decision to go with the hot ham and Swiss was a desire for a simple, quick sandwich, and this turned out to be not so simple. But it was also damn good. The vinaigrette-based red cabbage slaw was a palate cleanser that counteracted some of the richness of the sandwich. I just wanted a little more to the whole sandwich for the price. Still, if you enjoy the bustle of the Square, you can’t go wrong with Marigold.