Restaurant Spotlight: Taylor Gourmet

February 20, 2013 4:38 PM0 comments

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New shops and eateries continue to populate the Mosaic District, and one recent addition is Taylor Gourmet. The local gourmet deli chain, with a half dozen locations throughout Washington, D.C., has expanded into Virginia with its new Merrifield location.

Mosaic’s Taylor Gourmet, which opened earlier this month, has found its home in the first level of the anchoring Target store on District Avenue, accessed by the street and through the Target complex lobby. The space catches the eye before even setting foot inside. A large, windowed garage door makes up the street side of the restaurant, and diners entering through the lobby are greeted by a large light installation of upturned buckets. Inside, massive black oil drums become hanging lanterns, and shining silver chairs meet tables made from huge slabs of coarse wood.

The restaurant chain, started by a duo from the Philadelphia area looking to recreate the hoagies they enjoy, serves up a vast assortment of the sandwiches, even offering a selection of breakfast hoagies with eggs, cheese, popular breakfast meats and more.

The hoagies on the menu, about 40 in all, are grouped by the sandwich’s focus – cold cut, turkey, chicken cutlet, roast beef, pork, sausage/meatball, and vegetarian. Their fillings are gourmet blends of meats and cheeses. Cured Italian meats; roasted pork, beef, and turkey prepared in-house daily; breaded or grilled chicken cutlets also prepared fresh every day; sesame seed speckled Italian loaf; and aged cheeses are some of the components that make the hoagie take shape. A build-your-own option is available, but it’s hard to go wrong with the recommended creations.

The Delancy Street is filled with layers of roast beef, bits of roasted red pepper, shredded lettuce, onion, and gorgonzola cheese (an uncommon selection for a sandwich shop, but certainly an enjoyable one). With a bit of oil and red wine vinegar, all the pieces come together, and the excellent roast beef has a big impact.

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is a simpler creation, made with only three fillings: chicken cutlet (the diner’s choice of breaded or grilled), marinara sauce, and provolone cheese. Quality ingredients make the trio a winning combination; the flavorful chicken joins the marinara that is soaked into the hoagie roll and the sharp provolone imparts a powerful flavor.

The hoagies cost $7.10 for a six-inch sandwich and $9.50 for a 12-inch, and diners are invited to “taylor” their meal for $2.50 more with chips and a soda. A number of sides are also available, most of which are popular Italian fried treats that can serve as an appetizer before the meal or a snack to join the sandwich.

The Risotto Balls ($4.50 for five) have a crispy fried shell that gives way to reveal a warm, soft seasoned rice filling and a pool of molten cheese. The Fried Raviolis ($4.50 for five) have a smooth, creamy pasta-wrapped cheese filling in a crumbling fried coating. Both are served with a cup of chunky marinara sauce for dipping; both are also a delicious complement to the hoagies and are of surprising quality for a sandwich-focused restaurant.

Morning hours and a delivery option are nice bonuses, but the well-crafted sandwiches at Taylor Gourmet are enough to encourage diners to head to Mosaic District to satisfy their hoagie cravings.

Taylor Gourmet is located at 2905 District Ave., Merrifield. For more information, call 703-462-9970 or visit taylorgourmet.com. Restaurant hours are Sunday – Thursday: 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday – Saturday: 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

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