Caruso's Sandwich Company
A colleague remarked not too long ago that we have more than enough sandwich eateries in downtown Boise. Sometimes a sandwich is just a sandwich. That may be true, but we have a number of bars downtown, as well, and for many of them, the differences are minimal but defining. Just like a favorite pub, a favorite sandwich place offers a little something extra that you can't get at the other joint a block away.
Caruso's is the new kid on the downtown sandwich block. With Jimmy John's, Willi B's, Gandolfo's and Eli's, all settled in before it, Caruso's has some work to do to get people to know it's even there, let alone choose it over one of the others.
A couple of things work in the deli's favor: it is an Idaho-based small chain, the price points are reasonable (around $6 for a huge half sandwich), the menu boasts salads and pasta bowls as well as sammies for lunch, the breakfast menu is ample, the ingredients are fresh and, best of all, the bread is baked fresh every day.
At noon on an icy cold Tuesday, the cool corrugated metal wainscotting and wooden tables echoed with pleasant indie music on the stereo, magnifying the joint's emptiness. With three people behind the counter, and only me on the other side, I was all but guaranteed stellar service, which I received--another check in Caruso's pro column. A check went into the con column, however, because unless there had been a huge rush before I walked in the door, I couldn't see any reason for half-full bowls of neglected-looking pasta and potato salad in the cooler, and though I was never offered a side, I might have declined.
Soon, the Godfather sandwich, which according to the cashier is that location's most popular order, graced my table, provolone cheese dripping down thick layers of turkey, beef and bacon all snuggled in a soft, homemade wheat roll. A peek under the blanket of bread revealed two bright, fresh leaves of romaine lettuce, two surprisingly red, crisp slices of tomato, perfectly thin slices of purple onion and follow-through on my request of extra pickles. Though I'd only ordered the half-sandwich, a quarter was plenty, and the rest was wrapped in paper, speared with a festive toothpick and bagged to go.
Even though Caruso's probably won't be the equivalent of my new favorite watering hole, it's nonetheless a worthwhile addition to the downtown sandwich scene.