Sub Rosa

Downtown's geniuses of size and speed.

Of all the dining booms to emerge in Seattle over the past couple years, at least one has occurred way off the grubophile's grid: the proliferation of submarine sandwich shops in the downtown area.Long a downtown mainstay, Georgio's Subs (multiple locations) has recently embarked upon a downtown expansion with Starbucksian zeal. Ditto Jimmy John's (102 First Ave. S. & multiple other locations), a staple of college towns that now seems to be a staple of every town. Curiously, the Georgio's I visited a couple weeks back for a delicious Italian sub has since changed its name to Deli-cut Subs (716 Second Ave.)—with the same menu and ingredients. What separates Deli-cut's Italian sub from others was the extraordinarily generous amount of pepperoni that was heaped on.What Jimmy John's has going for it is size and speed. Not size in a "bigger than everywhere else" way, but rather in a "splitting the critical difference" way. For many people, a foot-long sub is often too much to ingest at once, just as a six-inch version can be too little. But Jimmy John's has eight-inch sandwiches that typically are served in under a minute. Their Italian sub is good, not great—but in terms of size and speed: sheer genius.The Westlake Center food court appears to be about the only place where Georgio's has tried and failed to open a franchise; the day we visited during lunch rush, the counter was dark, and appeared to have been cleaned out. So we looked around for other sub options, and ended up at Charley's Grilled Subs, where we ordered a club (turkey, ham, bacon) with cheddar bacon fries on the side. While the sandwich was at least edible, the fries tasted like vomit, easily attributable to the fact that Charley's cheese spews forth from a metal pump, the sort of shit you'd expect to have poured over a plate of stale tortilla chips at the multiplex (which is why no one in their right mind ever orders movie-theater nachos).Tat's Deli (115 Occidental Ave. S.) and the Other Coast Café (601 Union St., also in Ballard) are two gourmet outposts that, as the latter's name suggests, keep their menus on Eastern Standard Time. Tat's has grown so popular that it's basically the Salumi of subs; show up at noon on a weekday at your patience's peril (last time we arrived a shade after one, they were out of all breads except rye). But the concoctions are top-flight: Tat's Italian sub tasted fresh and meaty, and its reuben was moist and messy, if a little overpriced ($9.25) for an a la carte sandwich.Speaking of overpriced, you'll be apt to make a beeline for the door once you realize that at the Other Coast, a foot-long Italiano sub will set you back $16.14 after tax (take solace in the fact that it's mainly turbo brokers and lawyers bucking up here). But try and resist the 180-degree urge; this foot-long is like no other foot-long you've had in Seattle, both in terms of quantity and quality. It arrives on a thick, warm French roll, cut into thirds, and I defy all but the biggest lard-ass stoners to polish off more than two-thirds in one sitting. The sauces are dynamic and homemade, the provolone thick, and the Boar's Head meat piled on. If ever a meal centered on a sub were worth an Andy Jack, it's this

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