I’m a HUGE Neil Diamond fan. If you ask me what my favorite song of his is, I’d tell you in a heartbeat: “Sweet Caroline.” If you ask me what my next favorite song of his is, I’d tell you that I have no idea and actually couldn’t name another of his songs (and I’ve seen the man in concert). At this point, people like to say I’m not a huge Neil Diamond fan.
But has it ever occurred to you that a man just might know what he likes? That when he needs his Neil Diamond fix, he’ll go straight for “Sweet Caroline”? And that maybe it is so satisfying that he feels no need to dig into the discography for another taste? That he is quenched?
With this frame of mind, I feel no guilt in reviewing Froma on Melrose. Why would I ever consider feeling guilt? Well, I’ve only had one sandwich there. I’ve had it more times than I could count on my hands and feet, but it’s true: I have never ordered anything else. And I don’t intend on it, even though my job of reviewing this place would suggest I really should eat a few other dishes.
Why won’t I? Because the Alpino sandwich is f*cking perfection. Why would I ever order something else? Why purposely order a sandwich that will not be as good (because how do you compete with perfection?). Even if by some miracle the other sandwiches were as good as the Alpino, I know I’d have some massive pang of guilt because I just spent five minutes of my life not eating an Alpino when I realistically could have been eating an Alpino.
So I’m a HUGE Froma on Melrose fan. The space is a gourmet food shop/cafe, making it also a nice place to stop in for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine during happy hour. But I’m here to eat the Alpino. And you should be, too.
Balance is everything, and this sandwich is the master. A massive pile of salty cured beef with lemon (zest and juice) to balance it. A hearty, creamy layer of goat cheese, topped with the fresh, slightly bitter arugula. All shoved between a not-too-thick, not-too-hard ciabatta. It’s simple and it works. The ingredients are extremely high quality, but they melt together in ways that surpass their individual merits. I’d eat this every day, if possible.