With April just around the corner, Subway is getting ready to introduce a new Featured $5 Footlong -- bumping a new sub into temporary placement on the $5 Footlong menu. Next month's sub du jour will be the Double Bacon, Egg and Cheese, which looks to be worth scrambling to your nearest sub shop to try.
Naturally, that means I'm ready to review the Meatball Pepperoni -- March's $5 Footlong.
Don't look at it as tardiness on my part. Look at it as my sparing you from another litany of egg jokes after beating you up with too much ovular humor in last week's Snicker's Egg post. Look at it as having a full day left to try the Meatball Pepperoni, if what I'm about to describe catches your fancy.
Should it catch your fancy? That depends on how much you like the standard Subway Meatball Marinara. Because to be honest with you, the pepperoni layered on the bottom of the sub is like the acting in a Nicholas Cage movie: It contributes so little that it might as well not be there.
Before you drive away angrily, let me tell you the sub's undoubtedly good. Subway's venerable meatballs and stalwart marinara sauce form the rock of the components, delivering a very satisfying spaghetti-outlet flavor. Get it toasted, like I did, and your provolone cheese will melt and infuse goodness throughout the sauce.
What won't be infused is pepperoni taste. The treated meat makes a few cameo appearances when you find a bite that's short on sauce, but it largely loses its face off with the bigger flavors on the bun and plays apprentice to the sorcery of the meatballs. At times I almost forgot I was eating March's Featured Footlong and thought I had accidentally ordered off of the standard $5 menu.
Perhaps the only major difference the pepperoni delivers is negative. It makes the sub harder to bite -- the lunch meat straddles the space between meatballs and is difficult to gnaw in half, resulting in some situations where you have to yank the pepperoni out from under a meatball in order to take your bite. As you can imagine, this is a treacherous situation similar to jerking the tablecloth out from under a full set of china -- only instead of breaking the china, a misstep will soil your shirt.
Flipping the sub and eating it upside down doesn't rectify the problem, either. The pepperoni still maintains traction on the meatballs, inching them toward your spotless clothing with each nibble and threatening that the cleanliness of your shirt will be gone in 60 seconds. If nothing else, it makes lunch exciting.
Knowing all that, I can assert that the Meatball Pepperoni isn't bad, per say. It's just a virtual flavor clone of the Meatball Marinara. Something with pepperoni needs to be more to be more than that. Three sporks out of five.
Bring the lunch meat into the spotlight by slathering on more pepperoni or fix the eating issues gnawing at the sub, and we'd have a footlong that might be worth labeling a national treasure.