A Sandwich a Day: Roast Beef Sandwich at KnockBox Café

A Sandwich a Day

Reviews of Chicago sandwiches.


[Photograph: Sarah Song]

Located across from the California Clipper, KnockBox Café welcomes the lingering mid-day sojourner with comfortable sofas, funky burlap bag cushions, and a fake fireplace (which gives off little to no heat). The menu features a collection of coffee drinks, along with sandwiches, paninis, soups, and salads. Having had a late-night grilled cheese mere hours before, I skipped the paninis and went with the roast beef sandwich ($8.65).

The sourdough bread, from Red Hen Bakery, is good, but the slices are massively thick, throwing off the balance of the sandwich. Taking a piece of bread off the top (sacrilege!) actually helps to bring the sandwich into harmony. The Boar's Head roast beef, though beefy, is slave to the central piling phenomenon, leaving outside corners of little more than bread. Sharp white cheddar adds a nice counterpoint to the roast beef, and fresh spinach, tomato, and red onion rounds out the remainder of the sandwich (though more textural crunch would be pleasant). I was looking forward to trying the wasabi mayonnaise, but though tasty, it is sparingly used, and needs more punch (read: more wasabi).

However, the blue cheese coleslaw that comes with the sandwich is sort of a revelation, which is a strong statement from a girl who loves coleslaw. At first glance, it seems pretty standard—shredded cabbage, the occasional carrot strand, and white sauce—but with first bite, it's obvious that it's anything but ordinary. Tangy with vinegar, creamy with mayonnaise, and with giant chunks of assertive blue cheese, this coleslaw is everything I ever hoped coleslaw could be, nay, everything I look for in a life partner: straightforward, saucy, with hidden nuggets of awesomeness. Perhaps it's a touch too sweet, but I'm fine with that (on all levels). I even added a bit to my sandwich.