Rewster of the Sea (aka tuna salad) at Rewster's (photo: Steve Dolinsky)
There are dozens of coffeeshops in the city. By now, free WiFi, fair-trade coffee (usually from a local company) and Radiohead on the playlist are givens. What is less certain is the quality of the food. As much as I love to hang out at New Wave or Filter, the food is usually an afterthought (or outsourced) and doesn't inspire return trips for breakfast or lunch. But on a recent visit to Rewster's in Avondale, just a few blocks North of the Logan Square traffic circle, I was immediately impressed by their sandwiches. It doesn't hurt that the cook previously worked at the Peninsula's Pierrot Gourmet downtown.
Take their "Rewster of the Sea," for example (pictured, above). It's basically a tuna salad sandwich, but consider the crusty, slightly griddled baguette, with a high-quality tuna that is bound together with just enough mayo, plus hard-boiled eggs, Boston lettuce and tomatoes. Yes, it's $11, but all of the sandwiches come with a choice of soup, salad or chips, and those first two sides are worth a few bucks on their own. There's also a hot roast beef with smoked gouda and caramelized onions, plus a veggie-friendly, open-faced leek version, based on nine grain focaccia with melted Swiss cheese and crushed fried potatoes. The best deal here is probably going with a half sandwich and soup for just six bucks; unlike most places, where this kind of a deal is limited to two or three sandwiches on the menu, here, all of the sandwiches are fair game. You might want to try their hot grilled cheese, which contains pave d'aphinois - a soft white French cow's milk cheese, similiar to brie - as well as a thin layer of honey butter, sandwiched between thick slices of eggy brioche.
Grilled cheese with side of soup from Rewster's (photo: Steve Dolinsky)