Order it just for the splendor of the pork. The Stranger

Every sandwich is an act of trust, which means every sandwich carries with it the possibility for total failure. To make a sandwich, you've got to layer together at least three separate ingredients into a coherent whole. It's trickier than it sounds; not many places specialize in the making of meats and vegetables and cheeses and bread, so at least one ingredient has to be outsourced, leaving a vital aspect of the finished product in the hands of someone else. If you had a sense of every invoice and business relationship and product experiment that went into the creation of a sandwich, you'd probably throw an extra buck or two in the tip cup every time you ordered one out of sheer respect.

Georgetown's Hitchcock Deli (6003 12th Ave S, 582-2796, hitchcockdeli.com) is a huge, clean white concrete box—a storefront this size on Capitol Hill would probably cost you a Ferrari every month—minimally decorated with handsome wood and an anachronistic pay phone on one wall. When you walk in, your eyes are drawn directly to what matters most: the deli case, which displays beautiful meats, cured and smoked in-house. Behind the counter and in the back of the shop, employees slice, massage, and prepare them. People care less about their own children than the staff of Hitchcock Deli seems to care about these meats.

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I ordered the Cuban B sandwich ($11), about which I have many feelings. But first, a brief aside about sides: Every sandwich at Hitchcock Deli is served with a handful of Tim's Cascade Style Potato Chips. Now, I have nothing against the good people at Tim's; they're the brand I prefer when I make my own sandwiches at home. But for a restaurant to serve Tim's with a sandwich as highfalutin as this feels like a little bit of a letdown, like a hot date that ends with a handshake and a nod. I opted for a scooplet of Hitchcock Deli's own bacon-addled potato salad (an extra $2, and well worth it).

The Cuban B showcases the meat as clearly as the restaurant does: The porchetta is smoky and tender, and it's crowned with a salty layer of ham, Swiss cheese, and house-made pickles and mustard. But if you're detecting the inevitability of disappointment, here it comes: The bread on this sandwich just doesn't carry its own weight. Not that the baguette is a bad piece of bread—on the contrary, it's airy and fresh. But it's just not as good as everything else in this sandwich; I could find higher-quality and more appropriate bread in a grocery store. I would order the Cuban B again just for the splendor of the pork, but until Hitchcock Deli gets the balancing act just right, they'll lose points for the bready stumble. recommended