Jonathan Gold Reviews Ink.Sack
For followers of Michael Voltaggio — Top Chef champion, former chef de cuisine at Bazaar, noted liquid-nitrogen enthusiast — it may be important to state what Ink.Sack, the new sandwich shop a few doors down from his opening-in-September restaurant Ink, is not. You will not find deep-fried mayonnaise, LYS squid tentacles or spherified barbecue sauce here, or a patty melt made from layers of colored gel. These are sandwiches here, actual sandwiches on freshly baked rolls, not air bread or steamed kuzu, and while they are pretty small, just four or so inches long, they are also inexpensive, at $4-$6 per, so you can get a couple of them if you want. The dude at the cash register asks for your name when you order, and your lunch — at the moment, Ink is only a lunch place — will be served in an ink-black paper sack with your name written on it in silver, as if you were the luckiest girl in the second grade.
But Voltaggio being Voltaggio, the sandwiches aren't quite what you'd get at the corner deli. The Reuben is made with beef tongue, cooked sous vide down the block at Ink, in what looks like the world's oddest aquarium, and the "ranch cheese'' on the cold fried chicken sandwich is made from buttermilk put through a centrifuge. There is a C.L.T., made with lettuce, tomato, a bit of liquidy chicken liver mousse where you'd expect the mayo, and crisp strips of crunchy, dehydrated chicken skin instead of bacon. A Jose Andres, named for his former boss at Bazaar, includes a bit of every Spanish cold cut you could imagine, and the turkey melt is garnished with a spoonful of Modena-style mostarda. If you want something sweet on the side, you can get pineapple or watermelon vacuum-packed each morning with chile and citrus, so that the flavor infuses each cell of the fruit.
Lines are long, but service is quick. There are no chairs — you will bolt your sandwiches from one of the narrow counters in a corner of the shop, or, more likely, you will take them back to the office.
INK.SACK | 8360 Melrose Ave., L.A. | Wed.-Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
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