Carson Street Deli’s “Donnie Brasco”

All kinds of brilliance on one heavenly sandwich.

A while back I hit up the Carson Street Deli for their “Cheesy Beefy”, a delicious sandwich that takes the concept of a cheesesteak-style ‘wich to an entirely new place. Needless to say, I was quite a fan, and wrote about it on PittWich. When the folks over at CSD got wind of my post, we traded a few tweets and they turned me on to the idea of Urbanspoon! Since that post and conversation, traffic at PittWich has been on an entirely new level, so I figured I should repay the fine folks at CSD with another review of their spectacular ‘wiches.

This time around I spotted something on the menu that sounded too good to be true called the Donnie Brasco: “buffalo chicken, egg salad, hot pepper cheese, lettuce and tomato all on fresh Italian.” Yeah, I’ll give you a second to compose yourself. That’s how I felt when I read the description on their menu, too. Let’s review: buffalo chicken… and egg salad. On the same sandwich! A brave idea to be sure, and brave ideas often turn into genius ideas. The Donnie is an example of just that.

Let’s start with the obvious: the buffalo chicken and the egg salad. They work together perfectly, which makes perfect sense if you think about it for a second. What normally pairs well with buffalo chicken? Ranch dressing is a classic companion. What kind of flavor profile is going on with ranch? A cooling, refreshing, creamy contrast to the brazenly spicy buffalo sauce. Well, CSD realized that egg salad fits that same description and has more to offer in the texture department, thus making it buffalo chicken and egg salad rather than buffalo chicken with ranch. The two components here are on a level playing field, and they use each other as a springboard: the spice of the buffalo sauce comes through even more because you’re constantly being cooled with the creamy mayo-flavor of the egg salad. The bulk of the Donnie is a match made in sandwich heaven.

And there’s the supporting cast: the lettuce and tomato are good together for texture, and the tomato adds a nice undertone of acid when you’re getting a ton of the buffalo and mayo mixture, just for another level of flavor. The hot pepper cheese is a good idea because, while you’re getting the spicy heat from the buffalo sauce, there’s an entirely different kind of kick in hot pepper cheese. Going with a milder cheese like provolone would provide the same consistency but would sacrifice the extra notch in the spice department; yet another stroke of genius by CSD. And, of course, you have the fresh Italian. No, the term “fresh” is not just a marketing tool here: the bread I had my Donnie on was plush and squishy, but not so much that the sandwich starts to fall apart as soon as you pick it up. There was just enough give so that you could get right to the meat of the ‘wich.

Honestly, after eating the Donnie Brasco, I can’t think of going back to a buffalo chicken sandwich (one of my favorite kinds of ‘wich) without egg salad. It just makes so much sense, yet you’d never think of it unless you’ve visited CSD. I’ve got two disclaimers for those of you contemplating trekking to CSD to try one:

1. It ends up getting messy: don’t go on a first date and eat this sandwich.

2. Eat this sandwich.

Carson Street Deli on Urbanspoon

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