The Boston Phoenix
September 10 - 17, 1998

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Montrose Spa

The subversive sandwich

On the Cheap by Jason Weinzimer

Some people consider Latino food one of the world's great healthy cuisines, chock full of lime-marinated, bean-accompanied, fire-grilled goodness. Those people have never had a Cubano.

Montrose Spa, a takeout/convenience store on the funky stretch of Mass Ave between Harvard and Porter Squares, turns out a version of this pork-lover's sandwich fine enough to induce a food coma. Montrose offers several delicious deli sandwiches, but this Cubano is the real thing, a combination of bread, peppery roast pork, ham, cheese, and mustard, transformed by a hot-sandwich press into a crispy, gooey, nearly molten, and entirely decadent creation. It's almost buttery. You will need a nap afterward.

Montrose offers its sizable Cubano for a mere $3.95, with plantain chips available for 59 cents. For the non-hardcore, it's still a great place for a fresh, flavorful $1 cup of coffee -- you'll learn immediately why not everyone in the neighborhood goes to Starbucks. Is the Cubano's newfound popularity a Castro plot to ruin the capitalistas through cholesterol? Ponder the possibility at one of the sidewalk tables, watch the world saunter by, and plan that siesta.

Montrose Spa, located at 1646 Mass Ave, in Cambridge, is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Call (617)547-5053.

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