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The 4 best sandwiches around Seattle that restaurant critic Tan Vinh has had this month

I hold no grudge against grain bowls, but for lunch or a bite on the go, the old-school sandwich is better, no? It’s transportable, simple in its construct — meat between bread, interior moist with a sauce, preferably mayo. Here are the four best sandwiches I’ve eaten this month.

Prime-rib sandwich at Metropolitan Market

The only way to get a prime-rib sandwich of this high quality for this cheap ($11.99) is if you hit happy hour at a high-end steakhouse. Even then, the portion is stingy. This Met Market prime rib is arguably the most underrated sandwich in Seattle. And the best value. It should be $3-$4 higher than its price tag. This is 21-day aged Prime beef that’s been flamed roasted and served on a toasted baguette. The pink meat is so succulent — and that salty-peppery brown crust! The horseradish-dijon sauce isn’t so nasal-clearing harsh to distract from that profoundly beefy bite. I don’t even want the au jus or need to pay extra for more meat. The ingredients are in perfect proportion.

Six locations in Seattle and around the Eastside: metropolitan-market.com

Pastrami sandwich at Dingfelder’s Delicatessen

Those colorful pickles and coleslaw aren’t just Instagram props. You need that tang to cut into the slabs of buttery-rich meat that just melt in your mouth. I love this peppery sandwich with a smear of chopped liver. Some folks can’t get pass that $19 price tag, but look at it this way: This sandwich (mine measured more than 3 inches high) comes with 10 ounces of pastrami and can feed two. I look at it as buying two sandwiches. This Jewish deli charges $2 extra if you request “extra lean” meat. I look at that as a $2 infraction for messing up this beautifully constructed pastrami on rye.

1318 E. Pine St., Seattle; 206-403-1365, dingfelders.com

Roasted-pork-peach sandwich at Good Day Donuts

So, there’s no way you will spend $19 on a sandwich? This is the best sandwich I’ve had this month in the $8-and-under range. Erik Jackson, who has worked in the kitchens of Dahlia Lounge, Spur Gastropub and was most recently executive chef of the acclaimed Vendemmia, now runs a doughnut shop in a strip mall in White Center, doing hot sandwiches along with crullers. His is a roasted pork shoulder with a crisp exterior. The coaster-sized pork slices are layered with fried onions, brown butter mustard, mayo, a cabbage coleslaw and chunks of roasted peach vinaigrette. That fruit adds another flavor dimension, a pleasantly tart and syrupy sweetness. This $8 roasted-pork sandwich is a porchetta and not like all those Un Bien copycats around town. 

9823 15th Ave. S.W. (White Center), Seattle; 206-503-2898, gooddaydonuts.com

Porchetta sandwich at Salumi

And speaking of porchetta, I always envision some corner rosticceria in Rome every time I spot a downtown office worker biting into that Salumi pork sandwich along the cobblestone streets in Pioneer Square. Salumi does a 16-hour roasted pork, scented with fennel and garlic. That, along with pickled and sweet onions and green peppers, gets tucked into the pocket of a ciabatta that’s been slit like a pita. This $12 sandwich is better than Salumi’s popular meatball sub.

404 Occidental Ave. S., Seattle; 206-621-8772, salumicuredmeats.com