Between Two Slices: Slamwich Scratch Kitchen

Our sandwich correspondent finds an otherworldly BLT and more in Madison.

The Pop That Pastrami, left, and BLT at Slamwich Scratch Kitchen in Madison. Photo by Chris Gennone

The next stop on my quest to find the perfect sandwich is the Slamwich Scratch Kitchen in downtown Madison.

Located a block away from the Madison train station, this unsuspecting deli has been cooking up creative sandwiches and plates since 2015. When I first looked at Slamwich Scratch Kitchen’s menu online, I expected this place to look hip and modern inside with comfortable booths and some trendy art on the wall. But I was pleasantly surprised when I walked in, noticing the shop’s unpretentious decor, which resembled an old diner. Between the black and white checkered floor and the small, wobbly wood tables, the vibe inside was a little sleepy and dull. In other words, it was perfect.

I ordered the Pop That Pastrami, the BLT, and the Dirty Jerz Duck. Each came with house-made chips. In fact, everything at Slamwich is locally sourced and made in-house, even the bread. The Pop That Pastrami featured house cured brisket with Swiss cheese and NYSO sauce (a variation of Russian dressing with herbs, pickles and roasted red peppers). This sandwich essentially seemed like a Reuben, without the sauerkraut. The first thing I noticed was how soft and delicious the everything round roll tasted. The brisket was packed with flavor but was incredibly salty. The melted Swiss and NYSO sauce gave the sandwich a slight tang, but was overpowered by the richness of the brisket.

Pop That Pastrami:
Bread: 5/5
Filling: 3/5
Toppings: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Next, I tried the BLT. It featured crispy pork belly with tomato chutney, arugula and smoked mayo. Let me just start by saying that I think this was one of the best BLTs I’ve ever had. Again, with the first bite into the homemade sea salt round roll, the bread stood out. It had such a light and airy texture that it would be delicious with just about anything on it. But with the combination of the crispy pork belly and the smoked mayo was an absolute knock out. The saltiness of the pork, the smokiness of the mayo and the light, refreshing elements from the bread, tomato chutney and arugula made this a complete sandwich. I can’t wait to eat it again.

BLT:
Bread: 5/5
Filling: 5/5
Toppings: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

Then I tried the Dirty Jerz Duck sandwich, which featured duck confit topped with a pickle, red onion jam, slaw and onion rings. The flavors of this sandwich were incredibly interesting. In addition to the spectacular bread, the combination of duck and onion rings gave the sandwich a satisfying crunch. The slaw was a little sweet and balanced out the saltiness beautifully. I thoroughly enjoyed this sandwich, but felt like it was a little overkill. I caught myself slowly picking at the remaining pieces of duck instead of eating it as a whole.

Slamwich

The Dirty Jerz Duck sandwich at Slamwich Scratch Kitchen. Photo by Chris Gennone

Dirty Jerz Duck:
Bread: 5/5
Filling: 3/5
Toppings: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5

The bread at Slamwich Scratch Kitchen is so far the best I’ve had on a sandwich. It was so fresh that it tasted like it just popped out of the oven before eating it. I give this shop a ton of credit for creating some very inventive sandwich combinations that are different and exciting. The fact that the food is so fresh and adventurous, it makes its no nonsense interior feel more comforting. Although I thought the sandwiches were a little too salty, I can’t speak highly enough about the BLT. After I left, it was all I could think about.

Overall Between Two Slices Score: 3.75/5

Slamwich Scratch Kitchen, 143 Main Street, Madison; 973-520-8957. Open Tues-Sun.

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