The Fried Chicken Sandwich at Macellato
|Fried chicken sandwich, $8.22.|
What do you do with a space you grew out of? This week Andrea Froncillo and Mario Ascione, owners of Caffe Macaroni Sciue Sciue, turned their teensy original location into a minuscule sandwich shop. The carmine walls and shiny pressed-tin ceiling (which you swear your crown brushes up against, even if you're far south of six feet tall) are just as they ever were, but the front window is now open, and two cooks are serving sandwiches out of it.
They've got just two sandwiches on the menu board (more are on the way) ― both hefty and stuffed with good-quality ingredients. The salami in the Italiana is from Fra' Mani, for instance, while the chicken breast you see in the picture comes from Fulton Valley Farms. Not bad for $8.22 ($9 with tax).
The cooks drop the chicken breast in the fryer a few seconds after taking your order, and so you must pay it the same respect. Do not ― on pain of disillusionment ― leave the restaurant with a paper-wrapped bundle. It's a simple sandwich, with a soft bun and a lemon-brightened cabbage-carrot-fennel slaw, and the source of its brilliance is the complementary crunches of the blistering-hot breading and the cool slaw. Does Macellato's fried-chicken sandwich taste an awful lot like Bakesale Betty's? Why, yes it does. But Bakesale Betty is eight miles east of North Beach, while you are on the corner of Columbus and Jackson, ravenous and pacing. The moment the cooks hand you the sandwich, walk straight to one of the cafe's rickety tables and dig in.