The sandwiches at Bub and Popís were inspired by the corner grocery the ownerís 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 heís not above baiting his hook with something ď44Ē most likely considers comfort food.
ďThe only reason I put Chicago-style beef on the menu is because I want [President Barack] Obama to come in and eat lunch here,Ē 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 werenít enough, Taub has constructed an eating challenge dubbed the Liíl 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 ó ďand whatever drops on the trayĒ ó 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 (jalapeŮo-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 dunkerís delight, sinking chunks of caramelized onions and piquant scallions into seas of sour cream.
And heís reaching back to his fine dining roots via a reservation-only, monthly feast dubbed Bubís Sunday Table.
ďIts just my desire to cook world-class food,Ē he asserted. The intimate dinners are limited to a dozen people, and Taub said heís already sold out the next few months.
The debut experience (May 5) doubled as an anniversary bash for Cribline, a friendís 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 heíll likely revisit, including an escargot dish he developed at Old Anglerís Inn and assorted incarnations of foie gras.
Meanwhile, Taub is looking forward to expanding the Bub and Popís carte with house-made sausages ó including gourmet hot dogs ó in the very near future. Heís also hard at work on an artisan soda line heís got in development (late summer) and the gourmet frites spinoff heís 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.