You know when you buy a sandwich and you say to yourself, "Okay, I'm only going to eat half now, and I'll save the other half for dinner tonight," but then the sandwich is so magically delicious that, after that 1st half, you stare at the rest in agony trying to decide if you should go for it or not? Like, people could be talking to you and really you're just nodding and thinking, "Man, am I gonna eat this sandwich? Maybe just 1 bite..."
This has happened to me every time I have been to Ironside for lunch, and damnit, if they weren't so good maybe I'd be able to resist that 2nd half. But alas, 4 out of 4 times I've failed.
Their sandwiches dominate me for a few reasons. First, the people here know their meat-to-bread ratio - the first step in making world class sandwich. Second, the bread is warm and crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside. Finally, it seems like in every sandwich they know how to balance out flavors - something salty with something sweet. They have a sweet onion jam that goes with the turkey, or a sweetness of pickle with the cubano, or pickled onion on the red snapper. Of course, you're paying for this kind of expertise (as my friend put it, "They have balls to charge $13 for a sandwich"), but who cares when you're paying for local, organic ingredients....and you're putting it on the company card?
This place has been crazy crowded around lunch, so be weary of just popping in if you're in a rush. But they've found a way to get around this problem - Online ordering! It's like the owners sat in a room and said, "What will make us the most baller lunch spot around? BOOM - Online orders." Your food is ready (and warm) for pickup whenever you need it. It saves you the waiting in line/around for your food time, and gives you more time to sit down and enjoy the lively, modern atmosphere.
One last thing - they have a secret weapon: evil sticky buns. Imagine the best sticky bun you've ever had (soft, moist, crispy on the outside) and now add bacon and cream cheese. No it's not a joke, but it is unfair and just plain wrong. And it's just right size - not too big so that you feel guilty for the rest of the day, but not so small that you leave craving more. Well that's a lie, I leave craving more anyway but that's just cause they are so ridiculously good. A must-try if you pop in.
Bottom line, this place makes one mean sandwich and I have no doubt the rest of the menu will live up to my highest expectations.
680 2nd Street
San Francisco, CA 94107