The Boston Phoenix
November 26 - December 3, 1998

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Cosí Sandwich Bar

A New York favorite brings its bread to Boston

On the Cheap by Rob McKeown

While in Paris, restaurateur brothers Shep and Matt Wainwright were so smitten by the sandwiches at a local eatery that they persuaded the owner to help bring them stateside. He agreed, and the result is Cosí Sandwich Bar, already a Manhattan favorite, now open here, on Federal Street.

In a sleekly detailed, high-ceilinged space, customers order custom sandwiches from a fascinating selection of well-prepared foodstuffs, like roasted portobello mushrooms, kalamata olive spread, and cranberry roasted turkey. The ingredients are high-quality all around, but it's the house-made flatbread that the menu proudly proclaims is "the foundation" of the sandwich. It is undeniably fresh -- the hearth-fired oven is in plain sight -- and miles beyond a commercial hoagie roll. But it would need a touch more crust to be truly great.

Cosí is also rather expensive (sandwiches are $5.25 to $7.25, depending on ingredients), but when everything works out, it's more than worth the extra cash. Moist chunks of fuchsia-tinged tandoori chicken mix with crunchy cucumbers and tangy goat cheese; roast beef, slightly rare and still tender, blends with mozzarella and caramelized onions for a sandwich as delicate as it is delicious. Not everything is perfect; the "roasted salmon salad" is dry and chintzy on the star ingredient. But if you choose wisely, Cosí will make you a damn fine sandwich.

Cosí Sandwich Bar, located at 133 Federal Street, in Boston, is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Call (617) 292-COSI.

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