2/26/2013 11:45:00 AM

Sandwich Board: Short Rib Panini at Metropolitan Cafe

Right next door to longtime Rittenhouse standby Metropolitan Bakery, sit-down lunch spot Metropolitan Cafe is now open and serving salads, sandwiches, soups and locally-roasted GreenStreet coffee. The plant-bedecked “green wall,” and a lot of lovely woodwork make a great atmosphere, one that would be even nicer if it wasn’t so tightly packed. However, the food makes it worth a visit.

From the concise menu we chose the short rib pressed sandwich for our first meal there. All sandwiches are served on “cafe bread,” a special loaf that’s not even available for purchase in the bakery next door. What kind of bread is it? A wheat-white-rye mix - no need to worry about choosing, you’ll get all three.

It’s as good as any of Metropolitan’s baked goods, and stood up well to the thick pulled meat oozing with melted taleggio and caramelized onions. Housemade pickles inside the sandwich added a vinegary snap, and the whole thing was a satisfying meal, well worth the $8.50 price.

It might have been even better followed up by a pastry and a cappuccino, but the communal table was getting crowded, and all the windowside bar seating was full, so we stepped out. When you go, do plan to stay, since takeout is discouraged at the cafe - that’s what the adjacent bakery is designed for (215-545-6655).

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