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A sandwich for every occasion

BY BEN VERHILLE | DECEMBER 12, 2013 5:00 AM

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If you forgot your brown-bag lunch at home before heading to the library, I have a solution for you — Nodo.

One of the two Nodos, this one is situated at 5 S. Dubuque St.

I overheard that the only difference was this one had more seating; I assume that means the same owner, ingredients, and sandwiches.

Nodo is proud of its extensive variety of sandwiches and salads, playfully combining a multitude of old favorites with new ingredients and serving styles.

When I first walked in, I thought that the empty restaurant was a sign of its popularity, so I prepared for the worst.

The smiling woman at the register spent extra time making sure I knew what I wanted, either because I was staring at the menu for so long or because I was the only one there. Either way, I felt pretty special.

Then the lunch crowd came in.

Shortly after being seated, there was a noticeable group of what seemed to be regulars. I overheard a lady say that this was her first time at this location, but she was adept at the long list of 23 options and took only a tenth of the time it took me to figure out my order.

The kid in me really wanted to order the grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich, but I’ll save that for another day. The place even has a sandwich just called “The Bacon” — I wonder what could possibly be on it.

Other patrons included professionals, students grabbing food to-go, and I even recognized a professor.

Although the kitchen is virtually in the same spot as the register, that familiar smiling face spent the time to bring the food out, offer suggestions for the plate (adding hot sauce to my sandwich — good call), and offered to refill my drink.

Maybe it doesn’t sound like much, but if there’s a self-serve drink area, I usually don’t expect any kind of table service.

After being baby-sat thus far, I was too embarrassed to ask how to describe the food. That’s my job anyway.

I ordered option 23, the Nodo Pork Sandwich, as suggested by my constant helper. Pulled pork, shaved ham, and bacon with Swiss cheese, pickles, and dijonnaise (a mayonnaise and Dijon hybrid) on ciabatta.

The fullness of the sandwich was surprising to me. Normally, I see a sandwich that has a large area but not much volume. Here, the opposite is true. The sandwich is packed tall with the various meats, a true “manwich.”

Trying to describe this sandwich is difficult, but the trio of pork makes any true Iowan an instant fan. The suggestion of the Sriracha sauce complements the spice of the Dijon, but that just means those who don’t like spice can enjoy it all the same.

The slight crisp of the ciabatta is accentuated by every bite that includes pickles. Their sweetness makes every bite pop.

Although the pork is not what I would call grade A, the multitude of textures and tastes is really what stands out here.

For those of you just accompanying sandwich lovers, there is a “keep it simple” section, but that’s just too boring for me.


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