As Nick reported a few weeks back, the recent opening of cash-only Half Italian in Logan Square means that boulevarders will finally have access to Italian foodstuffs without ever leaving the neighborhood. Any small business news in the Square is good news, especially when said business offers an alternative to current neighborhood majority sub purveyor Subway. But as welcome an addition as Half Italian is to the neighborhood, the sandwich offerings at this point are only halfway there.
The Prosciutto ($6.00) features Creminelli Prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, and baby arugula dressed with Eliki extra virgin olive oil, all folded into crusty Turano bread. This sandwich has the markings of greatness: the meat is properly sliced, the peppery arugula is an original and inspired complement to the rich meat and creamy cheese, and the chewy-crackly bread does its structural work with panache. However, the devil is in the details, and in this case a small dose of balance would go a long way. The olive oil is applied with a heavy hand, resulting in soaked bread and a soapy mouthfeel. Beyond that, the sandwich craved acid; giardiniera remedied the problem, but the dollar up-charge had me deep into an opportunity cost analysis before my first bite.
The thing is, when it comes to Italian subs in Chicago, the Bari is set pretty high (oh, yes I did), without even mentioning sandwich wunderkind JP Graziano's. There's certainly something to be said for a convenient neighborhood option, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Half Italian will become destination-worthy in its own right. There's certainly plenty of neighborhood inspiration nearby to which to aspire.
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