Tuck Shop’s vegetarian portobello melt ($12) is the result of a happy accident. As the story goes, owner DJ Fernandes wanted a traditional patty melt on the menu and wrote a description for his chef. Assuming the chef was familiar with the dish, Fernandes didn’t include the obvious hamburger patty as one of the ingredients. Chef whipped up a sandwich of sautéed mushrooms and onions with melted cheese on rye bread sans beef patty. Everyone liked the meatless version so much that Fernandes and crew wrote beef out of the script. The portobello melt has since become a Tuck Shop staple.
Anchored by a roasted portobello mushroom stuffed with roasted garlic and herb-infused creamy mascarpone cheese, the melt is slathered with sweet caramelized onions and slabs of melted Gouda and Swiss sandwiched between crunchy marble rye. After biting into the crisp bread, you’ll strike gold with the succulent mushroom cap, which is marinated in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It bursts with earthy flavor. To “mix it up,” Tuck Shop serves the melt with a sturdy freekeh salad infused with smoked paprika in lieu of traditional potato or macaroni salad. “Freekeh is an ancient grain with a similar flavor and texture profile as bulgur or barley, but it’s a little healthier,” says general manager John Cavanagh.
Rounding out the plate are cantaloupe sticks cut to resemble French fries, scattered with fresh thyme and a sprinkle of sea salt. It’s a vegetarian parody of a diner classic that’s dead-serious delicious.
2245 N. 12th St., Phoenix
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