Restaurant Review: Newfangled Kitchen
The Newfangled Kitchen set up shop in Bexley next to the Drexel Theater with an exemplary commitment to meatloaf. More specifically: meatloaf sandwiches.
The sandwiches come in a breathtaking array and demand further discussion, but a little context is helpful first. It’s a counter-service joint with a lot of different options on its menu, including a diverse selection of non-meatloaf sandwiches, salads and soup. Newfangled Kitchen is a colorful, clean little cafe with an additional interesting commitment to the term “fang.” The word appears in its name, in art on the walls, and as a sauce.
Alrighty, then, meatloaf time: The meatloaf sandwiches are built on a thick slab of all-beef meatloaf, the texture fine enough to bind tightly and coarse enough to retain its meaty characteristics. Each slice boasts a mildly chewy, caramelized crust, just enough to add bonus interest to an already exemplary loaf specimen.
Start with The Fang ($8), that’s built with the sauce (aptly described as “mayo-based, smoky, slightly sweet”), but defined by the majesty of the meatloaf itself, combined with the brine of good ol’ American cheese, thin slices of red onion, tomato and lettuce on a bun. It’s perfect.
Or, for something that’s comforting with a kick: Lucifer’s Hammer ($8.50). Again, the meatloaf, only this time, its companions bring a trinity of multidimensional spike with jalapeños, a diablo sauce, and pepper-jack cheese. It’s got the lettuce and tomato too, as mediators. The heat levels are well-short of painful, but they provide prolonged interest for diners who need more than meatloaf for culinary satisfaction.
Of course, there are other sandwiches and salads to round things out. There’s no obligation to order a meatloaf sandwich. The Low Country Grilled Cheese ($7.00) is made with American cheese amped up with a generous supply of pimento cheese. The pimento cheese tastes like integrity, fancier than stuff typically found at the grocery. The cheese duo is fussed up with some tomato, onion, and crunchy bacon (worth a $1.50 up-charge).
The Hunter S. Chicken Sandwich ($8.75) is not bad. In fact, it’s solid value for two plump tenders layered with bacon and cheese. Shreds of lettuce with barbecue sauce finish it off. All the same, it lacks that sublime meatloaf magic wherein the sum is greater than the parts.
The jury is still out on the day’s soup, Mushroom Florentine. It’s a simple thing, creamy, briny, and milk-based. The spinach was fresh, and not the weathered, wispy, pre-frozen stuff, but not terribly plentiful with teeny bits of mushroom. The soup is thick and comforting, but all of the flavor comes from the bland dairy base.
So, never mind the soup, hit the Chocolate Kettle Chip Cookies ($1.75) instead. Full stop. Those alone could inspire a trip across town for more, even in the absence of exemplary meatloaf. The sugar-salt combination is that powerful, and the little chip shards add a different sort of crunch to the already lovable chocolate chip cookie base.
You can find it at 2258 E. Main St.
For more information, visit newfangledkitchen.com.