Itching for a new sandwich venue, I suggested Rain Shadow Meats Squared, a butcher-shop-cum-sandwich-eatery in Pioneer Square.
This latest foray by the owners of the original Rain Shadow Meats, located in that trendy foodie mecca known as Melrose Market in Capitol Hill (home to cheese shoppe The Calf and Kid, oyster outlet Taylor Shellfish Farms, and Matt Dillon’s amazing farm-to-table restaurant, Sitka & Spruce, among others) has been a bright spot in the burgeoning food scene happening in Pioneer Square, and a relief to the folks who work nearby who enjoy good food but might not have time for an elaborate lunch.
When Rain Shadow opened, I worked near the Pioneer Square location, but my job never allowed for the time to head down there, so I decided to save it up. The hubs, who is finally enjoying working Square adjacent now that so many interesting food and drink places have made the neighborhood their new home, had of course already been, and declared it “meh,” but, giving in to my love of the sandwich arts, he acquiesced.
When we arrived I was cheered by the hand-written request outside the door to take a menu and hop in line. I do love an orderly system. The decor is spare brick and concrete with gleaming glass butcher cases full of delectable looking meat products, as well as shelves of accompanying condiments that tempt you while you wait to order.
Around noon the spot was hopping busy, but the line moved quickly. There’s a marble counter in the back with about five stools overlooking the kitchen, if you’re lucky enough to grab a spot you can watch the action. Sadly, were not.
Hungry as usual, we decided to each get a full sandwich of our own and share. Being a roast-beef lover, I opted for the Romesco: chevre, house-made beef, arugula, goat cheese, and of course, that wonderful spicy sauce.
The hubs went with my second favorite-sounding option, the Rain Shadow Press, a combination of homemade mortadella (is there anything they don’t make here?), roast beef, sopprasata, Mama Lil’s peppers, provolone, cucumber and arugula, all served panini-style on ciabatta.
Given our newfound love of fermented beverages (I’m talkin’ to you, kombucha) we decided to accompany our meal with an intriguing-sounding celery soda. Effervescent and vegetal, it turned out to be a perfectly tangy accompaniment to all that rich meat and cheese.
After ordering, we were given a number and found a couple of open seats at a communal table, only to be quickly whisked away to a just-opened two-top by a very efficient server, who astutely observed that we were feeling a little hemmed in. Our sandwiches arrived quickly, and they were a pleasure to behold.
Starting with mine, I enjoyed that although the Romesco’s flavors were huge, the sandwich was decently, even delicately, proportioned. I particularly loved the use of goat cheese accompanied with the nuttiness of the romesco sauce, and thought the roast beef was beyond delicious. My only (minor) complaint would be the baguette. While it was perfectly toasted, that made it a little too pointy and pokey.
Moving on to the Rain Shadow Press, the ciabatta was a whole lot softer, and the flavors of the mortadella, provolone, and beef blended perfectly. Overall, I thought it was delicious, and at $12 per sandwich, we felt we got our money’s worth. I will definitely be back to try the Parisian (three words: double-smoked ham) and the Morty: house-made mortadella, provolone, olive tapenade and Mama Lil’s pepper again on (yes!) sourdough.
Rain Shadow even serves a couple of french inspired sandwiches the traditional way, avec butter. Although I’ve previously noted that adding butter to a sandwich is one of my biggest personal pet peeves, it is a new year, which might make this the time to come out of the shadows and start enjoying new sandwich styles. I am all for getting my mind changed.
Rain Shadow Meats Squared
404 Occidental Avenue South
(between King & Jackson)
Seattle, WA 98104
Mon – Fri 11am – 6pm
Sat – Sun 11am – 5pm