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Meatless September: The Bulgarian Feta at Bub and Pop’s

 Posted on September 18, 2013 by Jack Nank | 2 Comments 

 The Bulgarian Feta: Sheep’s milk feta, arugula, eggplant caponata, oven-roasted tomato, caramelized onion, caramelized mushroom, grilled zucchini, grilled fennel, balsamic vin cotto, hazelnut gremolata and pecorino
romana on a sub roll

   Among meatless sandwiches, there are those that are simply free of animal proteins, and there are those that — SHOCK — highlight actual vegetables. It’s the latter I’ve attempted to celebrate during our month-long
exploration of vegetarian sandwiches. One of the most popular varieties within this category is what I’ll call the vegetable mixed grill, in which a mélange of veggies is seasoned, seared and stacked atop a crusty hoagie roll or
baguette. Woodward Table’s Provençale, the first sandwich we featured for Meatless September, is an excellent example. The vegetable sandwich at Cork Market is similarly constructed and similarly delicious. At their best, these sandwiches are characterized by a seamless integration of sometimes contrasting ingredients. The vegetables are prepared more or less uniformly, and each bite brings a consistent and reliable blend of texture and flavor.

   The Bulgarian Feta from the Philly-style hoagie joint Bub and Pop’s, recently named among D.C.’s best sandwiches by Washingtonian,eschews this principle. On paper, the ingredient list is long and descriptive: sheep’s milk feta, arugula, eggplant caponata, oven-roasted tomato, caramelized onion, caramelized mushroom, grilled zucchini, grilled fennel, balsamic vin cotto, hazelnut gremolata and pecorino romana. In person, the sandwich is
imposing, looking more like a salad piled on a sub roll than an actual sandwich. A heap of arugula and pecorino completely obscures the weightier innards. As a result it’s impossible to know what you’ll come up with (other
than a face full of tangy balsamic, which is all but assured).

   Unlike other sandwiches of its ilk, the Bulgarian Feta is exceptional not because its many pieces fit together snugly, but precisely because they don’t. Every bite is a new adventure, and the vegetable components, unlike the aforementioned others, cry out unapologetically for attention. Whole mushrooms. Big, meaty chucks of roasted tomato. Crunchy eggplant. Although the combination of balsamic and gremolata provides some
semblance of cohesion, there’s a certain disarray that I was surprised to find myself enjoying. Although I almost always prefer a tidier sandwich, Bub and Pop’s Bulgarian Feta is well worth getting your hands dirty

ZAGAT Review

~Best Of DCist

 ~BUB AND POP'S: The Italian hoagie or Pop's Beef Brisket. Slathered in their hoagie relish. Actually, just slather me in it. (1815 M Street NW) —John Fleury

~Cribline Reviews

~~Dear Cribline readers; This week, The Cribline was introduced to what I would consider THE best sandwich shop in town Bub and Pop’s at 1815 M Street, NW. Bringing a bit of Philly to DC… It just opened Monday!!! If you are looking for an authentic Philly hoagie, well there’s finally a place in town that serves it… and it is probably the best hoagie I’ve ever had. I can’t stop thinking about it. I got the Italian, but I hear the brisket with fried egg is also to die for. There is also an array of other sandwiches in addition to salads, matzoh ball soup, clam chowder, pizza, and get this… cheesesteak stromboli. Check out the menu. I will be back to try it all!!! And, they deliver for a $30 minimum.Having just opened on Monday, I sat down yesterday with the young and very talented chef Jon Taub to learn more about how it all got started. They haven’t even put up the sign yet, but I will say that before too long, they probably won’t need one, because I predict there will soon be a line out the door. Sorry Potbelly!So during the interview I was given fresh housemade kettle chips, while my sandwich was being made, and they were served with the best french onion dip on the planet… They also brought out several versions of their specialty pickles too. One word: Yum!I could only eat half of the hoagie yesterday, so I put the other half in my refrigerator at home. And, let me just confess that I went straight for the second half as soon as I got up this morning. This could become a problem! Now, let’s hear more about Traub: The Cribline: So, who is Bub and Pop’s? Taub: Those are my grandparents who are from Philly where I also grew up. Grandma Bub, and grandpa Pops! The Cribline: How did you come up with the idea? Taub: This is one of the concepts I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I’ve been working in this business since I was 11. I started washing pots, pealing potatoes, etc…and years later I staged or apprenticed for Morimoto (aka the Iron Chef) when he opened his first restaurant in Philly (Morimoto).I then went to work at the top restaurant in Philly at the time LaCroix before coming to DC to open the doors at Adour for Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis. A 17 Michelin Stars recipient, he is the Michael Jordan of cooking! after a few other stops along the way, it was time to go out on my own! And, this just fell into place. I had saved up, and started looking 2 years ago for a spot. The Cribline: Tell us more about what went into this concept? Taub: I found that after moving here, I couldn’t get a good sandwich… I’d have to go home to get a brisket, a good pizza…back to Philly. And, I stumbled on this place, a former deli. They had the ventilation system, they had the brick oven, they had the infrastructure for making sandwiches. And, I said to myself that this fits one of my concepts. The Cribline: What is your favorite restaurant? Taub: I have to say, I don’t get out to restaurants often. This profession doesn’t really allow for it. But, I like what Rogue 24 is doing. I think it’s a neat concept. The Cribline: Ok, so tell me what I ordered and what I’m eating now? Taub: You ordered Bub’s Italian Hogie with Genoa salami, prosciutto, capicola, pepperoni, aged provolone, arugula, roma tomatoes, hoagie relish, mayo, Bug’s vinaigrette, and pecorino romano. And, now, you’re eating the housemade potato chips, with french onion dip from scratch. This is a special recipe that includes caramelized onions, dry sherry chives, and scallions. And the chips we fry every morning! This is my only side dish. The Cribline: Do you have any concluding thoughts? Taub: You know, back home we take this for granted… being able to go down the street and get a good sandwich. This place is a great launching point for the other concepts I have, that include a range from sandwich shop to fine dining. And, I’m focused on bringing something new to DC, something that hasn’t been done before. The Cribine: Well thank you, this really is much more than I expected. I walked into Bub and Pop’s without much expectation, and I left an hour later with an arm full of goodies. I met Taub’s parents, and staff, got a lay of the land of his first venture out on his own… one of about 7 concepts he is pursuing. It was clear from this experience that DC has a rising star on the culinary front. This is a guy to watch, and I believe that your hoagie experience will be a memorable one! As I said on the blog about Bub and Pop’s, I knew this was going to be a problem in the sense that I’ve developed a weakness for the Bub’s Italian hoagie… and the leftovers were my breakfast this morning before heading out to view homes. One word, yum!

The Prince of Petworth (PoPville) Reviews

~Bub and Pop’s Opens in Former 3 Pizanos Space in Dupont

   ~Chef Jonathan Taub, formerly of Pound the Hill, Adour, and the Philadelphia Ritz Carlton finally brings to DC something the city has sorely been missing, an authentic sandwich shop. His restaurant, Bub and Pop’s, features traditional Philadelphia and New York style hoagies and sandwiches. Influenced by his upbringing in Philadelphia and moved by his dismay at not being able to find a good sandwich he opened his own sandwich shop. Bub and Pop’s is family owned and prides its self on the use of high grade ingredients and making every guest’s experience personal and unique. The menu items contain typical sandwich fair such as Bub’s Italian hoagie (Genoa salami, prosciutto, capicola, pepperoni, aged provolone, arugula, roma tomatoes, hoagie relish, mayonnaise, Bubs vinaigrette, and pecorino romano) and Pop’s Beef Brisket (Slow braised beef brisket, apple-horseradish cream, 5 year old gouda, and veal jus). What isn’t typical about the food at Bub and Pop’s is that that all the items are house made and all the meats are sliced in house. The menu also includes house made pickles, salads, soups, potato chips, and coming soon, special late night offerings geared toward the late night M St crowd. We also provide catering for offices who have already fallen in love with Bub and Pop’s. Everyday Chef Jon comes up with a new creation to feed the hungry office workers of the Golden Triangle area that are always looking for something new to eat. Bub and Pop’s now Serving Water Ice Bub and Pop’s is becoming well known in DC for their sandwiches, soups, salads and Kettle Cooked Sea Salt & Black Pepper Potato Chips. On Friday, April 19, Bub and Pop’s added Water Ice to their list of house made offerings. Water Ice, also known as Italian Ice, is a Philadelphia tradition sold from Spring well into the first frost of the Fall. Chef Jon’s recipe includes fresh fruit, water and natural sugar – that’s all that’s in it! It gets blended, frozen and then scraped to serving size. Four flavors are currently being featured: Passion Fruit, Black Cherry, Peach and Espresso (no fresh fruit in that one, just real coffee). Soon to follow this Summer are ice cream sandwiches that consist of our house made Tahitian vanilla ice cream between two house made Oatmeal, Walnut, Chocolate Chip Cookies. And in keeping with Bub and Pop’s way of doing things, every thing will still be made in-house and all natural.

Washington Post Reviews

~This Thing You Should Try: The Real Obama at Bub and Pop’s By Fritz Hahn

       Competition for your lunchtime dollar is heating up between Farragut North and Dupont Circle. TakEatEasy, Boloco and Taylor Gourmet have arrived on the scene in recent months, but they’ve already got serious competition from a little basement deli called Bub and Pop’s. Open for just over a month, the homey little restaurant specializes in overstuffed Italian hoagies and braised brisket sandwiches. Chef Jonathan Taub, formerly of Adour and Pound the Hill, was inspired by his grandparents “Bub” and “Pop” Wagner, who opened a deli in Philadelphia after World War II. The standout on the menu right now has nothing to do with the City of Brotherly Love, though. The Real Obama, pictured above, is a take on a classic Chicago-style brisket sandwich: rich and juicy braised brisket topped with shaved pieces of sharp aged provolone and a spicy house-made giardinera. The giant “whole” size is almost too much for one meal, especially when paired with a paper bag of the house-cooked kettle-style potato chips, which are seasoned with black pepper and sea salt. (A whole sandwich runs $12; a half is $8. Competitive eaters in training can double the meat for $5.) Next time I’m at Bub and Pop’s, I might get a half sandwich, so I can enjoy more of the house-made pickles. The $4 special of the day was a plastic container full of white and green asparagus and egg with blood orange juice and white truffle oil, which delivered a citrusy tang. Paired with an exotic selection of sodas – who else in D.C. has Sioux City Birch Beer and Sarsaparilla? – you’re not looking at cheap lunch. Sandwich, chips, pickle and soda set me back $23 with tax. But it’s one you’ll be talking about for days.


~Bub and Pop’s: Pop’s Beef Brisket Sandwich

   ~It would be ludicrous to tell you that this is a mom and pop kind of place. But, we just did. You feel like family the moment you walk in and receive a warm welcome from Arlene, who by the way will thank you for even the most standard of tips. This is more curiously refreshing than Schweppes. Plus, just about everything, including the pickles and chips, are homemade at Bub and Pop’s. The first bite into any sandwich on the menu will have you wondering, hey, is a serious chef behind this operation? Yes. Chef Jonathan Taub, formerly of Pound the Hill and Adour, is at the helm of the shop named for his grandparents who started a deli business in Philly after World War II. Only a chef could create The Best Thing on the Menu: Slow braised beef brisket sandwich with apple-horseradish cream, 5-year aged Gouda, and veal jus. The real show stopper in this sandwich is not the fried egg, which you can add for $1 extra. Rather, it’s the Gouda that comes straight from Holland. It’ll have you picturing windmills, tulips and wooden shoes in no time. While this sandwich is scrumptious, there are several ways to be a more adventurous eater. Like trying The Real Obama, or taking on The Challenge: “Eat the entire Li’l Petey, and whatever drops on the tray, including the potato chips it is presented on in 15 minutes and you get your sandwich for free, plus your picture on the Wall of Fame.” Bub and Pop’s completes the trifecta of sub shops located in the Golden Triangle part of town that bridges Dupont and the Farraguts. Hoagie lovers can choose from Taylor Gourmet, Capriotti’s and Bub and Pop’s. Caution: Once you go Bub and Pop’s, you may never go back.

~The Best Thing I Ate This Week

            By ~~Jessica Voelker

~Blood orange Italian ice at Bub and Pop’s “Aggressive” is not a word I typically associate with Italian water ice, often one of summer’s mellower confections. But the blood orange ice at downtown sub shop Bub and Pop’s wallops you with tart citrus while coating your mouth with lush sweetness. It’s so intense, it could almost serve as a condiment—and do for your run-of-the-mill lemon ice what Sriracha does for a basic bowl of pho. Unlike most liquefied fruit, the blood orange retains that essential fecundity of food that grows on trees—it’s almost a dirty taste, and it’s so much more interesting than straight-up sweet juice. The Raj gin and tonic (with orange and thyme) at Estadio has that same hint of earth, and got me thinking that this slush-on-steroids could form the basis of an awesome sgroppino, an Italian cocktail typically made with vodka and lemon sorbet.

The last time reservations were open for Chef Taub’s Supper at Bub’s, it garnered high praise from food critics, food blogs and fine dining magazines. One of the dishes, “Seasonal Transition of Burgundy of Snails,” was featured on the cover of “Plate” magazine. The magazine called the dish “The French Evolution”, as a nod to Chef Taub’s modern twist on classic French cuisine.

Laura Hayes of the Washington City Paper and “Plate” Magazine are not alone in their praise of Chef Taub. A recent dinner guest and Bub and Pop’s regular, Jackie Heilman, had this to say about Chef Taub and Supper at Bub’s, “Supper at Bub’s is one of my favorite dining experiences. The atmosphere is comfortable, laid back, and quiet (only six guests per dinner), and the focus is; appropriately, on the food. The sequence of dishes, the pairings, and the pace of the courses are spot on. Chef Jon introduces each dish with enough information for guests to appreciate the food, but not so much as to take away from the mystery and excitement of eating something new that has been so expertly prepared. Each plate is a work of art, made so by Chef Jon’s mastery of a multitude of cooking techniques, and his manner of plating – Chef Jon is a deft sculptor of foods.”

Heilman finishes up by saying,” Somehow though, the food is so exceptional, that it manages not to be upstaged by the plating. Chef also makes thoughtful use of herbs and flowers to add complementary but curious flavors to dishes, and beautiful color to both dishes and pairings.” Heilman has attended Supper at Bub’s four times and has even attended with her husband and 4-year old son, who loves Chef Jon’s food.

Chef Jon is offering his multi course, prix fixe menu with wine, liquor and additional beverage pairings. To reserve your seat, or you would like more information, email us at: eat@bubandpops.com and give us your name and telephone number. We will call back to confirm within 48 hours. Reservations are to be paid in full at the time of booking as we do not process credit cards at the Supper - sorry, no refunds for cancellations.

Chef Jonathan Taub is a graduate of The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in Philadelphia. He apprenticed at The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia under Chefs Kai Lermen, John Hamme and Mark Arnao. Chef Taub worked with Michelin-starred Chefs Jean Marie Lacroix and Alain Ducasse. Chef Taub’s staged experiences include Morimoto, and Tru with Tramonto in Chicago. He brings his 20 plus years in fine dining to Bub and Pop’s and Supper at Bub’s.

~ Best Thing on the Menu

~An Early Look at Bub and Pop’s A new Philly-style sub spot comes to the “sandwich triangle.” By Anna Spiegel Forget the Golden Triangle

     ~we’re renaming the neighborhood between the White House and Dupont Circle the “sandwich triangle.” Within the past year we’ve seen the opening of the New Orleans Po Boy Shop; branches of Taylor Gourmet, Jetties, and the Portuguese chain Sweet Diablo; and, most recently, TakEatEasy, an Argentinian-Uruguayan joint from the former co-owners of Fast Gourmet. Now it’s time to welcome Bub and Pop’s—a Philly-style eatery that just debuted at 1815 M Street, Northwest. Just below sidewalk level, the no-frills spot isn’t too far of a cry from the place it’s modeled after: a West Philly grocery/deli belonging to Mae and Irv Wagner, the original “Bub” and “Pop.” You’ll find their descendants hard at work. Daughter and co-owner Arlene Wagner works the register and chats with customers, while grandson and chef Jon Taub creates an array of sandwiches and pizzas in the kitchen. It doesn’t say “chef-driven” anywhere on the chalkboard menus (thank goodness), but you can see it in many touches, such as the house-made pickles proudly on display. Taub, a Philadelphia native, worked his way around Washington kitchens over the past five years, including stints at Adour, Art and Soul, Pound the Hill’s dinner pop-up, and the Ritz-Carlton. Sandwiches are a hybrid of hometown loyalty and fine-dining experience: You’ll need a heap of napkins to take down the braised beef brisket sandwich dripping in its own juices, the result of slow-cooking the meat in house-made veal stock and red wine. It’s topped with apple-studded horseradish cream—once served alongside the Ritz’s beef Wellington—and slivers of aged Gouda. The desk-bound office crowd may gravitate to half-sandwiches, available on every option and plenty hearty, especially the meatier finds like roasted porchetta (bacon-wrapped pork) with hazelnut gremolata and pork jus. Salads and soups, such as chicken with slow-cooked matzo balls, are among the lighter options, as are the thin-crust pizzas topped with grilled vegetables or garlicky shucked clams. With only 30 seats and no liquor license, Bub’s is a good pit stop or takeout option before hitting the many area bars and clubs—and certainly a destination for late-night funnel cakes and summertime water ices (sorry, no cheesesteaks as of now; Bub’s isn’t trying to be Pat’s or Geno’s). On Friday and Saturday, Taub cooks well-past a bub or pop’s bedtime, serving until 3 AM.

Supper at Bub's

~New Pop-Up Alert: Bub’s Sunday Table Dupont sandwich counter Bub and Pop’s serves an 11-course tasting menu.By Anna Spiegel

          ~Since opening in late February, Dupont sandwich joint Bub and Pop’s has been the kind of place to roll up your sleeves and dig into a braised beef brisket sandwich dripping with jus (great for soaking up the booze on weekend nights, when it’s open until 3 AM). Still, it’s obvious chef and co-owner Jon Taub aspires to more than stuffed hoagies—note the jars of seasonal pickles displayed across the counter, and the fact that nearly everything on the menu gets prepped in house. The next step: Bub’s Sunday Table, a monthly supper club where Taub transforms the counter-order eatery into a dining room to serve an 11-course tasting menu to a dozen guests. “People come in late night [on Saturday] and they’re fighting outside, and the next day we have foie gras ballotines,” says Taub. Taub hosted the first in the series for a private party this week. Guests started off with dishes such as Kumamoto oysters and potatoes topped with crème fraîche and caviar before moving on to eight courses that included Kobe beef tartar, halibut with prosciutto and heirloom vegetables, and escargots slow-cooked in red wine, veal jus, and bacon. Upcoming menus remain in the works, but Taub says to expect a classic tasting menu progression with hors d’oeuvres, hot and cold appetizers, fish and meat courses, cheese, desserts, and petit fours, all paired with cocktails, wine, and other beverages. A background in French cuisine comes into play—Taub’s résumé includes stints at the Ritz-Carlton, Adour, and Philadelphia’s Lacroix—but you won’t necessarily find a strictly European menu. Prices will also vary with the menus, but Taub estimates that most dinners (with pairings) will run $200 a head, comparable to tastings at Komi and CityZen. There’s no set date yet for the next dinner, but Taub plans to release more information about the upcoming Sunday Table by the end of the week. In the meantime, you’ll find additions to the homey Bub and Pop’s fare, such as house-made ice cream sandwiches and fried peanut butter and jelly, perfect for that 2 AM crowd.


What A Bub and Pop's Fan Has To Say...

Bub and Pop’s: All the comforts of home, plus a chef in the kitchen

​​​​​​​​​​​Monday thru Friday  -                              8 am to 4 pm

Saturday -  11 am to 4 pm

​Sunday: Closed

 1815 M street NW. Washington  DC, 20036

~Phone # 202-457-1111,

~Fax # 202-457-8111 

email:  eat@bubandpops.com 

Washington City Paper
Jun 13, 2014

Bub and Pop’s
1815 M St. NW (202) 457-1111 bubandpops.com 

It’s hard to believe that this downtown sandwich shop is only a little more than a year old, because it looks more like 50. I mean that in the best of ways. It feels like it has history (perhaps thanks to the home photos on the walls), with the kind of character that so many restaurants hopelessly try to manufacture. Channeling a Philly vibe is co-owner Arlene Wagner, who’s more like your mom than an anonymous face behind a cash register.
She is, in fact, the mother of Chef Jonathan Taub, who brings a serious resume, including stints at Art & Soul and now-closed Adour, to the sandwich shop.  His experience shows in the tender slices of slow roasted porchetta, which overflow from a sandwich with hazelnut Gremolata, aged provolone, (optional) broccoli rabe, and pork jus. Just as marvelously messy is Pop’s braised beef brisket with apple horseradish cream, five-year-aged Gouda, veal jus, and a fried egg (for a dollar extra). Make sure to grab extra napkins. —Jessica Sidman

How can a vegetarian graze on D.C.’s essential dishes? Glad you asked.
By Lavanya Ramanathan

Bub and Pop's Bub's Italian Hoagie might be one of the best sandwiches in town, but it has competition from the four-cheese hoagie, presented exactly like its counterpart -- sans the capicola, prosciutto, pepperoni and salami.

 "The four-cheese hoagie has everything in it that the Italian does," explains Arlene Wagner, the cheery co-owner of Bub and Pop's. "You've got that nice sloppy sandwich."

 Vegetarians know it wasn't always this easy to dine out. But a veggie sandwich became one of Bub & Pop's bestsellers late last year, Wagner tells me. Our appetites are changing.

9 DC Sandwiches You Need to Try Right Now

                                                        By Rina Rapuano

Pop’s Beef Brisket at Bub and Pop's

 Crafted by a trained chef as an homage to his grandparents' deli, this is fast becoming one of Washington's favorite sandwiches.  Slow-braised beef brisket with apple-horseradish cream, shaved five-year-aged
Gouda and veal jus make for a sloppy yet magical combo that's a bit pricey for a sandwich - but totally worth it.

By Tim Carman, Published: March 27 E-mail the writer 

    It’s not even noon, and customers are already descending the steps into the subterranean solace of Bub and Pop’s. Some are alone and harried, eager to return to their cubicles with a fully loaded sandwich, likely the only comfort in an otherwise grinding day. Others arrive in pairs or packs of four, looking to score a table inside this tiny, strikingly colorful space on M Street NW.

    All of them, I suspect, are attracted by the nurturing, no-nonsense quality of the place. At once personable and professional, Bub and Pop’s is the genuine articulation of a concept that so many cafes and so-called “casual” restaurants try to create via cold calculation: an eatery that offers high-quality, scratch cooking in a setting that feels unaffected, perhaps even homey. Often, I just want to take a lazy, Sunday-afternoon nap after eating here, full and content as a lap dog.  Your introduction to Bub and Pop’s can be rough if you stumble onto the place during prime lunch hours. The line backs up fast, forcing you to hover over customers already seated at a table in the middle of the cramped dining room. The ice/water machine and condiments are on the opposite side of the same table, which creates traffic jams in two lanes. A kitchen runner will regularly attempt to navigate through this congestion to deliver a sandwich. It’s Metro Center at rush hour, in miniature.

    All will be well, however, when you reach the counter. There, you’ll meet Arlene Wagner, co-owner, order-taker and the official anti-depressant of Bub and Pop’s. She greets everyone as if they’ve just returned from war. She says thank you for every tip, no matter how miserly it is. She, her husband and her son, Jonathan Taub, opened this sandwich shop last year and dubbed it Bub and Pop’s in honor of Wagner’s parents, who once ran a grocery and deli in West Philadelphia. A formally trained chef, Taub has higher goals than slinging subs. His resume, dotted with stints at Alain Ducasse’s now-shuttered Adour  and Art Smith’s Art and Soul,hints at his ambitions. But like any Philly native, Taub loves cheesesteaks, Italian hoagies and roast pork sandwiches as if they were blood relatives.

After a day in the kitchen, “I don’t want to eat sweetbreads,” Taub says. “I want a cheese­steak.”

    For now, the chef is channeling his drive into Bub and Pop’s, a classical painter biding his time with poster art. Taub braises his own briskets, roasts his own porchetta, forms his own meatballs, whips up his own mayonnaise, fries his own addictive chips (complete with custom-made French onion dip, which I would lick off the sidewalk if necessary), pickles his own vegetables (the terrific kiwi with Napa cabbage faces East for inspiration) and bakes his own desserts. For bread, he worked with Lyon Bakery to develop a roll that delivers more flavor than your
standard squishy Philly loaf. Taub’s lone weakness may be his generosity, a lavish impulse no doubt derived from his central approach to life: “I love to eat,” the chef told me repeatedly during an interview. His lusty appetite might explain why he packs his sandwiches so densely (available in half or full-roll portions), which can create minor, but
noticeable, issues. Example 1: The Real Obama, his take on Chicago Italian beef, boasted such a thick tangle of meat that it dominated the giardiniera and aged provolone. Example 2: The heavy application of mayo-based “special” sauce in his cheesesteak caused the roll to disintegrate.  I should note: I still wolfed down that perfectly seasoned cheesesteak as if a pack of hungry Eagles fans was closing in. This was a recurring theme: I found tiny defects, but none that diminished my enjoyment of any one sandwich. I would have bowed before Pop’s beef brisket, topped with translucent chips of aged Gouda, if the apple-horseradish cream had been spread evenly,
allowing a more fully integrated bite. The Bolognese-parmesan grinder, an ambitious meatball/pork belly/brisket amalgam pulled together with a tomato ragu, was a 10-napkin mountain of meaty pleasure, save for a jiggly piece of belly that was, approximately, 99 percent fat. The roast pork, stuffed with that house-made porchetta, exploded with flavor — and salt.  Unequivocal hits were unearthed on the extreme ends of the spectrum. The Bulgarian-feta sandwich layers vegetables of varying preparation (caramelized onions, grilled zucchini and fennel, roasted tomatoes, eggplant-garlic confit puree) with two cheeses,to delirious effect. The meat-centric Bub’s Italian hoagie perhaps took liberties with the classic Philly preparation, including a final, furious shaving of pecorino Romano, which looked like a fright wig of cheese. But I could not care less as I devoured the thing and considered a second.

I might have even heaped praise on the lopsided Obama sandwich had it been dipped in jus, a standard option in the Second City. Taub later told me dipping is available to those who ask. So several days later, I sampled the Real Obama again, this time soaked in veal jus. The liquid tamed that overbearing block of beef and taught it to respect its partners. The other ingredients suddenly had room to express themselves, and they were operatic in their low-rumbling and high-coloratura notes.

    Once finished, I noticed the tabletop was drenched in jus, which I promptly mopped up with napkins. You might have every right to leave a mess at a restaurant, but within the homespun confines of Bob and Pop’s, such behavior only proves one thing: You need to learn some manners from Arlene Wagner.