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.
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.