When I heard that no one at Serious Eats Chicago was writing up a Thanksgiving sandwich this week, I balked with a level of patriotism usually reserved for fireworks or the National Anthem before a baseball game. After a little research, I decided to fill the void at Fat Cat, an Uptown bar from the same people behind Silver Cloud and Five Star. Between parking and walking through the front door, my emotions ranged from excited, to nervous, to ready to be disappointed. Was I squandering a trip to this culinarily paved-with-gold strip of Broadway? I could be eating at Tank Noodle or Sun Wah right now! But I persevered and ordered with stoic resolve. This was my civic duty.
The Thanksgiving Special ($8.95) is two pieces of wheat toast piled with slices of roasted turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and mayo. It comes with a side of classic-as-can-be green bean casserole. The sandwich is absolutely the sum of its parts. The turkey, which is roasted in house, is on the dry side. And the stuffing, mayo, and cranberry sauce make quick, soggy work out of the toasted wheat sandwich bread. I'd honestly be pretty disappointed to be served any of the separate components of this sandwich on Thanksgiving Day. But when you take a bite of it all together...it works. Especially if you add on some of the green beans and French's onions. The whole experience is somehow elevated to the "leftovers sandwich eaten over the kitchen sink late Thanksgiving night" level. I was all of a sudden really excited for Thanksgiving, which is exactly the feeling I was searching for the whole time.
So would I order this sandwich again four days before actual Thanksgiving? Probably not. But if I ever found myself taking a fire extinguisher to the Thanksgiving turkey, à la Tim Allen in The Santa Clause, I'd take this over Denny's any day.
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