Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield neighborhood is home to a ridiculous amount of restaurants, sandwich shops, and just all-around cultural diversity. It’s got its own Little Italy, the (regionally) famous Tessaro’s burger shop, and the often overlooked but never under-appreciated Lot 17. When you walk in to Lot 17, you’re greeted by the bar, but this restaurant is far from a bar-oriented place. The menu’s got a little bit of everything, and everything is great. And no matter what you do, order the cajun fries. Be sure you have a drink next to you, of course, but order the cajun fries.
At the top of the Lot 17 sandwich list is their Turkey Club on Focaccia Bread. The club isn’t usually the most creative sandwich, and this one doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s a perfectly constructed sandwich. It’s got “oven roasted turkey breast, bacon, and Swiss cheese with lettuce and tomatoes served with a roasted garlic mayonnaise on focaccia.” The initial vibe you get from the flavors, a cool and refreshing combination of the veggies and the lightness of the mayo, tastes like summer. And it’s certainly a lighter sandwich, but it’s certainly not light on flavor.
To start, the “oven-roasted” is probably the best turkey I’ve had on a sandwich. I’m not a connoisseur of turkey sandwiches the way I am with brisket, but I’ve got to think this stuff’s hard to top. Then the bacon, not too thick but thick enough to crisp a little bit, contrasts with the turkey for a soft-crunchy combination that’s fantastic. The swiss cheese piles on top (because every good sandwich needs some kind of cheese) and you get hints of the subtle swiss flavor occasionally, but it’s really just a compliment here.
Then the second part of the sandwich comes into play. The lettuce, tomato and roasted garlic mayo combine into one harmoniously fresh topping for the turkey, which counters the meaty turkey and bacon duo perfectly, making sure neither part becomes overwhelming. The mayo is prominent in every bite of the sandwich; not overpowering (as garlic can so often be), it’s the main source of the summer flavor I mentioned earlier: light, but not without some serious character.
And, of course, the bread is in its own world. It has this texture on the outside that has a certain crumble to it, but the bread never actually flakes. It keeps its composure and, after each bite, makes sure everything inside stays together. And when the rustic flavor of the focaccia pairs with the garlic mayo, it’s truly the catalyst for this unassuming yet delicious little gem in the middle of Bloomfield.