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Observer Tournament of Sandwiches: The Final Four

Winnowing to the Final Four in the 2012 Observer Tournament of Food brings us to four sandwiches of profoundly different virtues.

Winning the Poultry Bracket is the fried chicken sandwich from The King’s Bakery. Have I mentioned it’s the only sandwich the place sells? One thing, done well. The No. 1 (turkey, hot, with bacon, Swiss and more) from Fran’s performed valiantly, but everything about the chicken clicked.

Among Beef Bracket contenders, the Reuben from Growler’s Pourhouse edged 131 Main’s “Awesome” roast beef sandwich with its singular strength of diverse flavors and textures. That Awesome is seriously tall, though, y’all.

Topping the Pork Bracket by the width of a pickle slice was the Cuban from Havana Carolina Café in Concord, its combination of strong individual ingredients melding into a classic Cuban just nicking the simply rich, simply juicy grilled bratwurst from the Waldhorn.

And in the Something-Other-Than-Meat-Centric Bracket, Common Market’s Hot Mama (a veggie panini) knocked out Kabob Grill’s Rocket Wrap (a vegetarian pita wrap) in a battle of idiosyncratic, good-for-you concoctions. That surprising spinach pushed it over the top again.

Now, the judging moves solely to the tasting panel, which will pit Poultry against Beef, and Pork against Other in bread-to-bread competition. Semifinalists and the champion will be announced in next week’s CLT. There’s been some muffled hints that the finals may be live-Tweeted, so if you’re not already following @helenschwab and @kathleenpurvis on Twitter, you might want to. But no guarantees...

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