Gabagool is a fun word to say. Turns out, it’s Jersey Italian slang for capicola, that gloriously salty cold cut of pork shoulder. It was a favorite of Tony Soprano’s, and if you swing by this Mississippi neighborhood cart, it might become a favorite of yours, too.
You’ll first find it on the namesake sandwich ($7), which comes on a thin tortilla-like flatbread called piadine. The gabagool (fun, isn’t it?) is generously packed with capicola, salami, romaine, roasted tomato, fresh mozzarella and hot peppers. The charred flatbread that held it together lacked flavor and durability, but the meat and cheese were fresh and flavorful. Unfortunately, they were overpowered by very spicy peppers, which you may want to leave out.
Chef Ryan Sherman’s big blue cart does much better with four housemade egg-pasta options. Taglierini ($9) was among the freshest, fluffiest, most flavorful pastas I’ve had in town. Thick chunks of smoky prosciutto and a runny fried egg richly counterbalanced the fresh squash, arugula and tomato. It melts in your mouth so quickly, you’ll want another order. The tritata salad ($6) was another winner, striking a beautiful balance between spicy, tangy and salty—it’s basically the gabagool sandwich, deconstructed and without the problematic bread.
This is street food
at heart, pumped with oils and spices. Everything is slightly
overdressed in olive oil, and the peppers mask the simple quality of
other ingredients. Food takes a while to be prepared, but is served with
a friendly “thanks for your patience,” until you realize just how much
extra care—and quality pork shoulder—you’re getting for the price. Then
you suddenly don’t mind anymore.
- Order this: Taglierini ($9) or any of the housemade pastas.
- I’ll pass: Sandwiches on piadine bread.
EAT: Gabagool, 836 N Beech St., 753-5859. 11 am-3 pm, 6-9 pm Tuesday-Sunday. $.