I tried Bunk Sandwiches for the first time during my trip to Portland last year. I had first learned about Bunk Sandwiches when it was featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Bunk Sandwiches has since been featured on other Food Network shows such as The Best Thing I Ever Ate – Reinvented Classics episode for their Pork Belly Cubano sandwich.
On my first visit last year, we tried two sandwiches. The first was the famous Pork Belly Cubano ($8). The Pork Belly Cubano consisted of slow-roasted pork belly slices along with ham, swiss, pickles and mustard. The whole sandwich is then put under the sandwich press to crisp up the bread and melt the cheese. This Pork Belly Cubano tasted amazing and was easily one of the best sandwiches I have ever eaten. I agree it is totally worthy to be on the show The Best Thing I Ever Ate. I loved how all the flavours melded together – the savouriness of the melt-in-your-mouth roasted pork belly, the saltiness of the ham, the tartness of the pickles, the tanginess of the mustard as well as the gooeyness of the melted swiss cheese.
The second sandwich we tried was the Roasted Turkey with Sage Sausage Stuffing and Cranberry Sauce ($8). I thought it was a clever idea to pack all the elements of a turkey dinner on to a poppy seed kaiser. The tender turkey pieces were flavourful and paired nicely with the tart cranberry sauce. This sandwich was quite tasty but when compared to the Pork Belly Cubano, the Pork Belly Cubano was still by far my favourite.
To me, the Pork Belly Cubano totally had the wow factor during my first visit. I loved it so much that I wanted to go back to have it again when I was visiting Portland last month. We were lucky this time when we arrived on a weekday just before noon that there was barely a lineup. By the time I got the sandwiches the lunch crowd started filing in. Again, we started with the Pork Belly Cubano ($9). As before, the sandwich was really tasty. The bread was crispy on the outside and the pork belly just melted in our mouths. However, I wish the swiss cheese had been melted more as this time it lacked the gooeyness. Overall, this sandwich was still very, very good and all the great flavours were still there but somehow it wasn’t quite as good as my first visit. I can’t quite pinpoint what it is but it lacked the wow factor that I experienced during my first. I’m not sure if they were just having an off day or perhaps, they just needed to leave the sandwich under the press for a couple of minutes longer so the cheese would melt and all the flavours would meld together. Despite that, the Pork Belly Cubano is still my favourite sandwich out of the ones I’ve tried so far at Bunk.
For our second sandwich, this time we tried the Roast Beef with Caramelized Onions, Horseradish Sauce, and Cheddar ($9). The tender roast beef was thinly sliced and generously heaped on to a poppy seed kaiser. Personally, I liked that the tender beef slices were served rare but found them to be a bit on the cold side. I would have preferred if they would have served the beef warm to bring out the flavours more. Also, I found the kaiser to be a bit on the chewy side. Overall, this sandwich was good but rather pedestrian compared to the Pork Belly Cubano.
Bunk Sandwiches is so popular that they have now opened a second location in downtown Portland recently. On both visits we went to the original location which is just across the Morrison Street bridge from Downtown. We didn’t want to chance the new location for fear that it might not be as good as the original. They also have a bar called Bunk Bar which also serves their signature sandwiches late into the night. Since both sandwich shop locations close by 3 pm daily, if you’re having a craving for a Bunk sandwich later into the evening, Bunk Bar would be the place to go to satisfy your craving.
Bunk Sandwiches (Original Location)
621 SE Morrison St
Bunk Sandwiches (Downtown Location)
211 SW 6th Ave