Saturday is Pork Day at Cutty’s, a small sandwich shop making headlines in the heart of Boston’s Brookline Village. We queued up for Pork Rabe: slow-roasted pork, sautéed broccoli rabe, and sharp provolone on a sesame-seed roll. It’s almost unfair to compare it to Tony Luke’s model in Philadelphia; the pork spices and bread are different, and the provolone is so sharp that it, combined with the rabe’s distinct bitterness, occasionally overwhelms the meat in some bites. In others, however, the balance is well-nigh perfect, dazzling your taste buds and making your brain wonder where this sandwich has been all your life.
The Spuckie, another top seller and the only one you can order as a half-sandwich, is a variation on New Orleans’ signature muffuletta. Named after an old Boston colloquialism for sub or hoagie (from the specialty bread used, spuccadella), the Spuckie’s only condiment is a tangy olive-carrot salad, whose oil seeps into the bread, here a sturdy ciabatta roll. Fennel salami, hot capicola, mortadella, and the freshest, most flavorful hand-pulled mozzarella make this sandwich another must-try.
Boston loves roast beef, and Cutty’s of course has its own version, the Roast Beef 1000: slow-roasted beef, crispy fried shallots, house-made Thousand Island dressing, and Cabot sharp cheddar on a brioche roll. This accounts for half of all sandwich sales, probably due to the wickedly delicious shallots and the textural euphoria that they cause. The dressing has a hint of horseradish and is just enough condiment to properly moisturize the soft bread. But the shallots, akin to onions, are absolutely divine and singlehandedly lift this entry to the upper echelons of sandwichdom.
We immediately homed in on the homemade pimento cheese in the Ham Pimento: Niman Ranch ham, pimento cheese, and sweet pickles on a baguette. The cheese looks exactly like the neon-orange processed stuff, and there’s not nearly enough on the sandwich to fully taste it. The ham’s fine, but the problem is the baguette: way too chewy and crusty to gird a life-changing sandwich. However, the Egg Salad Radish amply makes up for it: the creaminess of the egg salad is counterbalanced by the crisp radishes, and the overall flavor is taken to the next level with the addition of fresh cilantro and oil-cured olives. No hearty ciabatta or brioche rolls here, but the white or wheat breads are far from grocery store options.
Hand-squeezed limeade is delightful, and we are also partial to the house-made potato chips. Cutty’s may serve the very best we’ve had anywhere: golden russet potatoes sliced impossibly thin, then fried to a very dark brown and minimally salted. Various cookies and Rice Krispies treats are available for dessert, but we stick with the cracked-top brown sugar cookies—but that is only in lieu of ordering a third sandwich!
A meager storefront hidden by building shade on a curve of Washington Street before emptying into Harvard Avenue, Cutty’s serves the best sandwich in Boston and maybe in the entire Bay State. It is open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (lunch begins at 11 a.m.). Cutty’s is open one Sunday each month, when the specialty is fried chicken sandwiches.