Not Arrested by the G-Man: Mangialardo & Sons

Somehow, I’ve managed to live on Capitol Hill for over fifteen years without being caught by the G-man. That would usually be cause for celebration, were it not that this particular G-man is the signature sub served by Mangialardo & Sons, a DC fixture for over half a century.

Loaded with salami, ham, provolone, mortadella, mozzarella, and more, the G-man is one of those sandwiches that causes rapturous responses in certain people.

A blurry G-man from Mangialardo and Sons

I have to confess that I’m not one of those people. The parts were good, but the sum total somehow fell a bit short for me. The meats and cheeses were fresh and of ample quantity—they take ingredients seriously at Mangialardo & Sons—and I got more than sufficient value for $6.00.

But the hard roll let down the sandwich, which fell apart as soon as it was unrolled from the correctly wrapped butcher paper. The oil and vinegar barely provided any mouthfeel, the spicing was bland, and on the whole, it seemed like an uninspired assembly. There was no art to the layers. I was the only customer in the store, so it’s not that there was a rush to put my sandwich together.

The store itself bespeaks volume business. Up front is a cash register, in back is the order counter and food preparation area, and the middle is essentially empty, to hold the apparently large crowds that gather for subs there during the short time window they are served each day. Even the ordering process has that pleasantly efficient gruffness that suggests they produce a lot of subs and don’t have time to linger over cordialities. So it’s obvious that there are serious G-man aficionados who make pilgrimages to this slightly out-of-the way location at 13th and Pennsylvania, SE.

I’m only about a fifteen minute walk from Mangialardo & Sons, and if Taylor Gourmetdidn’t deliver proper hoagies and roast porks, I’d make the walk more frequently, no question. Perhaps I caught them on an off day, so I look forward to another G-man (with a less blurry picture!), but I don’t know that this sub will arrest my taste buds frequently.

(Update 2014: New review of the G-Man posted.)

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