A Childhood SF Sandwich Shop Gem
I was born and raised in San Francisco so naturally, I have a ton of very fond food memories here. Many places I frequented as a kid have come and gone. Only a few places have stood the test of time and this is for a reason. If what you dole out is in deed good enough to capture people's love for years and years to come, then it's an institution in my eyes. Much like our restaurant House of Nanking which has been churning out food for locals and tourists for almost 30 years, Marina Submarine has been churning out subs for kids, teenagers, grown adults in the Pac Heights and Marina neighborhoods. Kids who grew up eating this Korean Owner's sandwich still come back as grown adults craving their favs. I for one am one of those fans along with many of my friends. I've been eating it all my life and even till this day, I still come eating the same subs and have even inducted my husband into this lifelong tradition. I remember those high school days where I would just wait to get out of class and walk my way down the steep hills just to buy a sandwich for lunch and then rush back up those crazy hills to get back to class. Not the best use of lunch period, but it was worth it. Anytime you come, you can rest assured that the same man who has been making these sandwiches is still making them. No one else gets to stand behind that counter and touch your sub. Only he does, and he does it with such speed and and finesse.
Ok, so aside from the fact that this man has been making sandwiches all his life and every sub you get is made by him and no one else, what actually makes their subs so addicting? Everything! The bread he uses is perfect, toasted enough to create a slightly crispy crackly exterior but not hard, the inside of the bread isn't too thick and when pushed down becomes a thin dense and chewy but light layer of bread that pockets the perfectly balanced combination of deli meat, lettuce, tomato and cheese. He toasts the bread with the cheese so it melts and the lettuce is shredded finely which makes absorbing his "secret sauce" which is basically an oil and vinegar dressing a lot easier to soak up. Each bite has every layer of texture you want, crispy, chewy, light, moist slightly juicy, and just darn delicious. It's not an overly fussed over sandwich with fancy bread, or fancy deli meat. It's the basics and sometimes the basics is all you need for the perfect sandwich.
If you haven't gone, venture to the Marina and go try out some of his bests. The Italiano which has salami, mortadella, and turkey is one of the favs, the atomic bomb which has mortadella, pastrami, and salami with house made chili peppers is another "bomb" sandwich although pretty intensely large, and finally the turkey avocado sandwich, half an avocado is literally stuffed in it. So what are you waiting for?
Marina Submarine - 2299 Union Street, SF CA 94123