Winner: Grilled Eggplant Sandwich
Restaurant: The Flying Fig, Cleveland, OH
Creator: Chef/owner Karen Small
Inspiration: “The sandwich came about as a variation of the classic, eggplant parm and morphed into a combination of that and the French picnic sandwich, pan bagnat.”
Key Ingredients: Sliced eggplant, sun dried tomato pesto, chopped Mediterranean olives and capers, roasted red peppers, pickled fennel, sliced and marinated bocconcini, grated pecorino romano, arugula and house-made caramelized onion focaccia.
Food Cost: $2.85
What the Judges Said: Too many restaurants feel obligated to put a vegetarian sandwich on their menus, and their dull offerings show it. At The Flying Fig, sandwiches are an art form, and its vegetarian offerings prove that meatless sandwiches can be more exciting and flavorful than their meat-filled counterparts. In this case, the grilled eggplant sandwich is a multi-layered flavor bomb of Mediterranean ingredients. Classic French and Italian sandwiches may have inspired Small, but she’s created a masterpiece that exceeds both.
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