These days you can find a great version of almost any food in Boston—but good luck finding it wedged between two slices of bread. Despite the city’s ever-expanding culinary chops, its sandwich scene has left us with a craving that not even the hautest lobster roll can satiate. But wedged into a tiny Brookline center storefront, there’s a glaring exception: A spot that merits an excursion to the far reaches of the Green Line for an expertly layered, bread-enveloped masterpiece.
What does it take to make the perfect sandwich? For starters, two culinary degrees can’t hurt. Rachel and Charles Kelsey—the husband-and-wife team behind Cutty’s—both graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and worked at Cooks Illustrated magazine prior to taking the brick-and-mortar plunge. And it shows; the duo treats sandwiches as any great chef would treat their craft—with respect for ingredients and culinary ingenuity.
It comes through in the components, from produce grown at Brookline’s Allandale Farm to bacon from North Country Smokehouse in New Hampshire to bread made at Iggy’s in Cambridge. Each menu item offers its own little world of flavor: in the Rabe T.J., the bitterness of the dark greens balances the sweet hint of homemade tomato jam; beets offer an earthy dimension to potato-and-beef hash wedged into a Red Flannel Hash breakfast sandwich; a sprinkling of crispy fried shallots takes meaty masterpiece Roast Beef 1000 to another level. The team piles on layers in just-right quantities, tall enough to satiate but manageable enough to savor bites in perfect proportions. The insides never spill out of the breads; a brioche vessel offers an unobtrusive extra later of buttery goodness while a sesame roll is toasted to a crisp yielding to-die-for texture.
Despite a recent Kickstarter boost from the community that helped the Kelseys expand Cutty’s into a shuttered hair salon next door, the space is still relatively compact, with just a simple smattering of tables. A line easily snakes out into the street—particularly on Super Cluckin’ Sundays, the once-per-month offering of fried chicken sandwiches. But don’t let it intimidate you. Quick, seamless service helps things roll along, and it’s all a small price to pay when you’re finally digging into the sandwich of your daydreams.
Check Cutty’s website for Super Cluckin’ Sunday dates. Arrive early to stake out a place in line; the sandwiches are only served from 10 a.m. until they run out. Phone-in orders aren’t accepted.
Cutty’s caters platters of sandwiches—both house staples and customer creations—As well as giant Fennel + Peanut and Mixed Greens salads on a per-person basis
Cutty’s stops serving breakfast sandwiches at 10:30 a.m. and closes mid-afternoon at 3 p.m., so plan your outing to Brookline accordingly.
When Guy Fieri visited Cutty's for an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, he asked Charles Kelsey to explain the roast beef sandwich's name. Kelsey's response? "Because it's from the future."