While this slender Brazilian cafe in Nolita probably won't make it into our regular lunch rotation, its crisp pork and cheese Calabreza sandwich ($11) makes for a decent, if Nolita-pricey lunch. Its true strength lies in its foundation: thin slices of flavorful sourdough, pressed cooked until golden and crisp with a bit of chew at the center, and nearly saturated with a generous measure of olive oil. We wouldn't mind eating it plain, or maybe as the accompanying toast point to a hearty soup. Here it surrounds a couple half-links of Brazilian pork sausage, a mainstay of the country's cuisine, borrowed back in the day from Brazil's substantial Italian immigrant population (hence the sandwich's name, Calabrese). The sausage itself is intensely porky with a light smoky-spiced flavor, however we were slightly put off by its casing, which was snappy in some spots but chewy in others. Caramelized onions are as good a companion to the sausage as ever, lending the sandwich a necessary moment of sweetness, and shreds of Gruyère contribute a bit of nuttiness which pairs well with the bread; more of it would have been even better. The sandwich is topped off with a few bright spoonfuls of pico de gallo, made with little else than fresh-tasting tomatoes and an echo of red wine vinegar, which bring it moisture and a refreshing finish. The sandwich is slender but not exactly light; those heavy ingredients add up. It comes with a side arugula salad to round out the plate.
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