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The Black Sheep, Chef Kevin Roberts' Sandwiches and Cafe in Richmond's Fan District

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Last year, Man vs. Food’s super glutton Adam Richman hosted a Best Sandwich in America bracket style competition. The winner for the Mid-Atlantic region was a fried chicken liver sub from The Black Sheep, besting a Baltimore crab cake and the Washington W Hotel’s chicken club (perhaps the Fast Gourmet chivito was declared ineligible).

Today, I found myself close enough to The Black Sheep to stop in for lunch. It is pretty close to the VCU campus, and I imagine they have a steady stream of customers at all hours. They are open breakfast through dinner. After a quick glance at the menu, I decided on the USS Congress described as chipotle roasted pork shoulder simmered in a tomatillo barbeque sauce with grilled pineapple & a Mexican style pickled pepper & cabbage salad, loaded into a toasted French baguette.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the sandwiches aren’t referred to as subs, grinders, hoagies, or any other familiar term, they are called battleships, and all named in honor of said ships. Secondly is that the prices seem absurd, $12 for a “half” $18 for a “full”, that is until you realize the half appears to be over a foot and the whole is enough to feed three or four people.

Although the dining room is quite charming, I got my battleship to go. By the time I got home, my lunch was still warm and delicious. In my head, I was thinking the flavors would be similar to District Taco’s al pastor, but it was much more a bbq shoulder that happened to be served with pineapple. The pickled pepper and salad gave it a banh mi vibe, but it all worked very well together. Even after the twenty minute car ride, the veggies still crunched and the bread wasn't too soggy from the sauce. I imagine they do a lot of to go orders, and know how to pack their food.

Coming from the interstate, instead of through the city, it’s very easy to get to from the Belvidere exit off 95 South. The first trip was worth it, and I’m looking forward to exploring the rest of their menu. They don’t have a website, but use Facebook to post their menu and information. Bonus points for making their page public, so you don’t need an account to view it, The Black Sheep Facebook Page.

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