The sandwiches at Bub and Pop’s were inspired by the corner grocery the owner’s grandparents ran in Philadelphia.
A specialty cheesesteak nearly proved overwhelming, the massive specimen overstuffed with savory chopped steak, a mass of caramelized grilled onions, rich cheese sauce and pickled vegetables.
And he’s not above baiting his hook with something “44” most likely considers comfort food.
“The only reason I put Chicago-style beef on the menu is because I want [President Barack] Obama to come in and eat lunch here,” Taub readily admitted.
His The Real Obama is no mere novelty act. The end product marries juicy traditional roast beef with the house brisket, bolstering the mouthwatering meats with a medley of vinegar-soaked vegetables including robust carrots, crunchy celery and zesty cauliflower.
And if all that weren’t enough, Taub has constructed an eating challenge dubbed the Li’l Petey. Contenders must consume a kitchen-sink meal ($30) composed of prosciutto, capicola, genoa salami, pepperoni, brisket, aged provolone, mozzarella sticks, fried chicken, potato chips, hoagie relish, arugula, roma tomato and fried eggs — “and whatever drops on the tray” — in under 15 minutes. Victors win a free sub (good on their next visit) and get photographed for the wall of fame.
Taub works magic in small doses as well, producing tantalizing pickled pleasures (jalapeño-spiked watermelon, an ersatz caprese composed of preserved grape tomatoes, basil and mozzarella) daily. House-made chips are curvy, crunchy and conservatively spiced. The accompanying French onion dip is a dunker’s delight, sinking chunks of caramelized onions and piquant scallions into seas of sour cream.
And he’s reaching back to his fine dining roots via a reservation-only, monthly feast dubbed Bub’s Sunday Table.
“Its just my desire to cook world-class food,” he asserted. The intimate dinners are limited to a dozen people, and Taub said he’s already sold out the next few months.
The debut experience (May 5) doubled as an anniversary bash for Cribline, a friend’s real-estate-related blog. To celebrate, Taub orchestrated a nine-course extravaganza featuring the likes of beef bourguignon, poached halibut flanked by artfully arranged vegetables and oysters married to black truffles.
Although he fully expects to switch up Sunday Table selections from month to month, Taub suggested there are certain touchstones he’ll likely revisit, including an escargot dish he developed at Old Angler’s Inn and assorted incarnations of foie gras.
Meanwhile, Taub is looking forward to expanding the Bub and Pop’s carte with house-made sausages — including gourmet hot dogs — in the very near future. He’s also hard at work on an artisan soda line he’s got in development (late summer) and the gourmet frites spinoff he’s mulling for his next project.
Food Court is an ongoing series of semi-regular spot checks of new and evolving eateries with ties to Capitol Hill.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., walks on Broadway after a Future Forum with young entrepreneurs in the Flatiron District of New York City, April 16, 2015. Reps. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., Seth Moulton, D-Mass., and Grace Meng, D-N.Y., also attended.