ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
Few restaurant categories have engendered as much forward motion in recent years than have the sandwich makers. That’s not so surprising a fact, but this one is: an unlikely number of the new places are managed by serious food professionals and even chefs. At first this looked like a grab for more profits and less work by the owners of more complicated restaurants. Now I’m not so sure. Some of these places–the subject of this review, for example–are doing their work with foodstuffs right out of the special-ingredients game played by the best eateries in town. The result is that this is the third sandwich shop we’ve recommended here in as many months.
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
Who says a sandwich can’t be made with the most interesting and perhaps most expensive raw materials? It’s obviously not true, as Wayfare demonstrates every day. Not only are the ingredients good, but the finished product shows so much attention to details you wonder how other sandwich makers will now be able to raise their heads. As strong as that work is, you can avoid the sandwiches and still eat very well. Prices are higher than average for this fare, but the quality is so much greater that one hardly notices.
Although Wayfare places its greatest emphasis on sandwiches and cocktails, its kitchen has many skills. The place bats out a superb collection of starters in such an interesting and varied a selection to make a great non-sandwich meal a great way to play the place. Soups are always offbeat and brilliant. Entree specials add an entirely separate dimension to the possibilities.
Wayfare opened in 2013, adding yet another terrific eating place to Freret Street’s restaurant row. That area’s dining options are among the most surprising phenomena in the history of the biz, having as it does not only good food but astounding originality from one place to the next. Owners Vincent and Ray Arnona operated a West Bank bar. Chef Kevin White turned up after working in some major kitchens around the country.
The restaurant is in one of the most utilitarian of storefronts on this old commercial strip. The interior workover created a comfortable, visually interesting space with high ceilings and many windows. You are as welcome to hang out with a drink as to dine.
»Mediterranean olive medley
»Bruschettas, three kinds
Arancini (fried rice balls stuffed with mozzarella)
»»Meat pies (three kinds)
Sliders (three kinds)
»Pulled chicken, basil purée, Dijon vinaigrette, tomato confit, kalamata olives, bread and butter pickles, arugula, shaved red onion, ciabatta
Margherita (mozzarella, tomato, basil purée, sautéed spinach, sharp provolone, salsa verde aioli, pistolette
Roast turkey, aged white cheddar, roasted tomato, spicy mayo, red onion, lettuce, arugula, salsa verde aioli, caraway
BL(fg)T (fried green tomato, bacon, red onion, lettuce, arugula, spicy mayo, sweet potato habañero hot sauce, 7-grain bread
»Fennel sausage, egg, peperonata, sharp provolone, fennel aioli, ciabatta
»»Media dia (ham, salami, orange mojo pork, Sswiss, pickles, jalapeños, charred onion, mustard, spicy mayo, pan de agua
Porchetta (pork loin, Kurobuta pork belly, caramelized onions, salsa verde, arugula, fennel aioli, hoagie
Cured meats (salami, coppa, soppressata, banana peppers, sharp provolone, roasted tomato, red onion, arugula, olive oil, pistolette)
»Reuben (corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss, 2K-island dressing, rye
»Knuckle (chilled roast beef, red onion, shoestring potatoes, horseradish aioli, arugula on pretzel bun)
Chicken Waldorf (walnuts, apples, sultanas, celery, red onion, red grapes, Greek yogurt dressing, spring mix, pepper jelly vinaigrette
Giardiniera (spicy pulled pork, boiled egg, pickled vegetables, hearts of romaine, coleslaw dressing
»Roasted beets, Maytag blue cheese, spiced, candied pecans, dill, romaine, arugula, red wine vinaigrette
»Seared chilled salmon, caper pesto, arugula, grape tomato, cucumber, pickled vinaigrette
The Wayfare (mozzarella, grape tomato, kalamata olives, orange segments, romaine, red wine vinaigrette, blood orange-infused olive oil
»Marshmallow sweet potatoes
Spicy sesame noodles
Quinoa, chard, kale
»Kurobuta bacon mac & cheese
»»Empanada-style apple pies, ice cream
Orange and chocolate bread pudding beignets, grand marnier crème anglaise
Lemon ice box pie
FOR BEST RESULTS
The sandwiches are excellent, but they deviate from the local norms. Wayfare’s roast beef sandwich is emphatically not a poor boy. The nightly specials are impressive, and the kitchen is diligent about posting tonight’s plans on the website.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The tables and chairs in the main dining area feel insubstantial. Although they do make a hamburger for the kid’s menu, they won’t make one for you without your begging.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment +1
- Consistency +2
- Value +1
- Attitude +2
- Wine & Bar +1
- Hipness +2
- Local Color +2
- Sidewalk tables
- Open Sunday lunch and dinner
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Open all afternoon
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
- No reservations