I've been nervous about writing this post, that somehow I'll get evicted from the North End for writing anything negative about a beloved haunt. But here goes.
I'm not that crazy about Hot Tomatoes. There, I said it. It's owned by the same people as Carmen- quite possibly my favorite North End restaurant- so it pains me that I'm not equally obsessed with this quaint, adorable sandwich shop. Plus, I love sandwiches with all my heart. But this falls short for me.
Why? First of all, the massive sandwiches always make me feel a little sick afterwards. And while it's nice they come with a side of pasta salad, cole slaw, or potato salad, all three of these options are so loaded with mayonnaise I usually can't even take more than two bites. It's like they dolloped out some Hellmann's, threw in a couple noodles, and there you go.
My first sandwich here was the Nantucket ($7.75), a hot ham and brie sandwich with fresh jam. I'll give them props for the conception of this sandwich- brie + jam always is good, and on a sandwich? Genius. But there was WAY too much ham! I wish I had a photo of this massive stack of meat. The dry and salty ham taste totally overpowered the brie and jam. Which made me feel sad.
Other sandwiches I've tried? One day I was craving a cubano like crazy so decided to try the Carmen Cubano ($8.25). Ugh, this was NOT a cubano! Where was the buttery, hot bread, the pickles, the cheesiness? Again, too much meat!
I wasn't a fan of the Jezebel ($11.75) salad either-- Hot Tomatoes' take on a salad nicoise with seared tuna, green beans, black olives, and roasted potatoes. Something tasted off about the tuna (EW, big turn-off) which sort of soured the whole experience for me.
However, I must admit I have had some favorable experiences, too: I did like the Tremont ($7.75)- basically a BLT with sun-dried tomato mayonnaise, specifically because it had the correct proportions and didn't try to wow with its size. I also enjoyed the "My Little Chickadee" salad ($12.75) (first for the name, second for the ingredients): grilled chicken, avocado, bacon, mozzarella, and their signature, creamy balsamic dressing. And the garlic "forget-me-knots" ($2.75) (salty, dough balls) are sooo yummy, especially with their creamy tomato soup ($3.75).
However, these good points aren't enough to woo me to being a super fan like my roommate Sebastian is, especially when this place isn't cheap (might've noticed that already from my including the prices here). I'm not a hater, but not a fan either. North End, I hope we can still be friends!?