Feed Me

The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.

Barbecue has infiltrated the land of lattes, panini and scones. Starbucks, which has been expanding its savory repertoire of late, breaks into new culinary territory with the debut of a BBQ beef brisket sandwich on toasted sourdough bread. What's inside: slow-cooked (but not smoked) beef brisket with BBQ sauce, onions braised in Gordon Biersch beer and Sonoma Jack cheese.

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The moment I learned of the sandwich launch, I rushed out to the nearest Starbucks (in Melville) to try it.  And found myself pleasantly surprised. Like many Starbucks offerings, it needed to be warmed in a convection oven. Surprisingly, the toast came out nice and crunchy. And the well-sauced (but not over-sauced) meat wasn't cloyingly sweet. The cheese was oozy, the onions mellow yet assertive. A pretty good value for $6.45. And, at 510 calories, not an all-out debauch.

Another newcomer I came across was the seemingly more virtuous edamame hummus wrap with roasted tomatoes and sesame-flax crackers. Costing $5.95 and weighing in at 495 calories (only 15 fewer calories than the brisket sandwich), the icy cold little pinwheels stuffed with vegetables, hummus and garlic-herb cheese tasted like vending-machine food. I'd recently had sensational edamame hummus at an airport cafe, so this version came across as even more of an affront to vegetarians. If you're not a vegetarian, spring for the 15 extra calories and 50 cents and go for the beef.