Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cossetta's Italian Beef Sandwich

I had to run into St. Paul to grab a few goodies for Christmas and managed to avoid the temptation of the newly created St. Paul versions of the Bulldog and Pop!! to head to an old favorite, Cossetta's. Cossetta's is a St. Paul institution, and is always jammed with folks digging into hearty Italian pasta classics, sandwiches and pizza. Cossetta's also has an extensive Italian grocery and deli as well as a frozen take-away section. The Italian grocery has a ton of great stuff including olives, breads, imported canned tomatoes and a whole array of Italian meats and cheeses.

Although I did breeze by the grocery to inspect the goodies, I was at Cossetta's in search of immediate relief for a sandwich jones, and couldn't be distracted for long. I passed the pizza line and decided against the mostaccioli (both of which are favorites) for the allure and promise of an authentic Italian beef sandwich. Besides, the lines in the cafeteria-style Italian eatery are always wicked long for the perfect pizza and decadent pasta.

The sandwich starts with a nice fresh roll and they pile it high with thinly sliced Italian beef that has been soaking in a pool of it's own rich jus for what must have been some time given the delicate consistency of the beef. I ordered mine with hot giardiniera, and they really piled it on! I tore into the sandwich and immediately ran into a salty jolt of the beef jus and was then quickly bombarded with the spice of the giadiniera. Both flavors were bold and were greeted warmly by my now desperate taste buds. The only issue was that the salt and the heat really masked the beef, which should be the heart and soul of the sandwich. I found the roll a bit dry as I like my beef sandwiches "wet," or fully immersed in the jus. However, that isn't for everybody and most people would have found the roll just fine, but that's just my own personal taste. I feel a good slice of provolone would have helped mellow out the hot peppers, and added quite a bit to the sandwich, but it didn't stop me from wolfing the sandwich down.

Sandwich Rating: Tasty. It was super satisfying and really filling, but I felt like the Italian Beef and it's delicious blend of spices was buried underneath the mound of hot peppers and salty jus. I would consider ordering the sandwich again if I went back, but would likely give the Italian Sausage or Meatball hoagie a shot if I can resist the delicious pizza and heavenly, ricotta spiked mostaccioli.

Happy Eating,


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