“Suddenly Frodo laughed: from the covered basket he held, the scent of mushrooms was rising.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
I think people either love mushrooms or avoid them like the plague. I’m a lover. My mom is a hater, so growing up we never had them unless my dad sneaked them in the spaghetti sauce (he did that with liver, too.) I remember the first time I tried raw mushrooms – it was en route from Raleigh to Atlanta in a Volkswagen van to see Pink Floyd in concert, circa 1975. What a fun trip that was, and I’ve been hooked ever since! But I digress. Now that I’m in vegetarian world, I have been searching Raleigh for some great mushroom sandwiches, and luckily have found quite a few. Here are some of my favorites, plus my own grilled portabella that is absolutely magical.
Mello Mushroom – 601 West Peace Street, Raleigh, NC 27603
I had to try the mushroom sandwiches at a place that has “mushroom” in its name. And I wasn’t disappointed.
The first one I had was the Righteous Portobello Reuben. This sandwich rocks. Who would ever think of substituting portabellas for corned beef in a Rueben? Absolutely my favorite one of all. It comes on a baked rye hoagie, with sliced bellas, kraut, 1000 Island dressing, roasted red peppers and sautéed red onions. I got the small at $6.49. Chips are extra ($1.10). This is new to the menu and I hope it becomes a permanent addition.
On my next visit I ordered the Portobello and Cheese Hoagie. This sub comes with grilled, sliced portabellas, artichokes, lots of sun dried tomatoes, lots of feta, spinach, sprouts and mayo. I had mine on a French hoagie. Good flavors, but the sun dried tomatoes almost overpowered the mushrooms – it would be better with less. Good value at $4.95.
Sunflowers Café – 8 West Peace Street, Raleigh, NC 27603
Sunflowers is a great little sandwich place, especially if you’re a vegetarian. It is located next to Peace College, right where you turn to go to Logan’s Nursery and Seaboard station.
I tried the Portobella Ellen, which is $6.95 and comes with your choice of chips. Served on grilled Italian sourdough bread, this sandwich has sliced, roasted bellas and onions, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato and a mild horseradish sauce. This sandwich is messy, but quite good.
I will be doing a review of this delightful restaurant in the near future – stay tuned!
Wildflour Pizza – 7456 Creedmoor Road. Raleigh, NC 27613-1663
Wildflour is close to where the kids take Taekwondo, so we occasionally stop there for dinner. I ordered the Hot Pocket, and this was easily the strangest mushroom sandwich I tried. And the jury is still out.
It comes heated in a large pita with sliced sautéed white button mushrooms and onions, avocados, marinara sauce and topped with white cheddar cheese. I thought the mushrooms were bland, but it might have been because they were overpowered by the marinara sauce. Not a bad price at $6.75, but it did not come with a side. Strange, very strange indeed.
Lynnwood Grill – 4800 Grove Barton Road, Raleigh, NC 27613
Lynnwood Grill is located off of Glenwood Avenue and Lynn Road, in the same area where Target and Lowes are. It’s basically a sports bar, and has a wide variety of sandwiches as well as pizzas and calzones.
I had the Roasted Portobello, which came on a toasted sandwich bun with a whole portobella cap that had been marinated in soy sauce and olive oil, according to my server. It was topped with diced tomatoes and red onions, garlic, basil and mozzarella cheese. The mushroom was juicy and had a great flavor. It comes with your choice of chips or fries and a pickle for $6.99.
Porter’s City Tavern – 2412 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607-7248
Located right across the street from N.C. State, Porter’s is a great place to go for lunch or dinner. I like sitting outside when it’s nice, but those tables are usually hard to get. Porter’s has awesome burgers that are ground in house and cooked to order.
I had the Grilled Marinated Portobello, which came with a side salad. This sandwich was served with grilled onions and roasted red peppers, gruyere cheese and garlicky mayo. Yum! I would definitely try this again, and it’s a good deal at $6.95.
Zest Café and Home Art – 8831 Six Forks Road, Raleigh, NC 27615-2970
Zest is a great little café located in a strip mall on the corner of Six Forks and Strickland Roads, next to Borders Bookstore. It is always crowded for lunch, and is closed on Sunday and Monday.
This sandwich came on homemade focaccia that was wonderful. It had a roasted portabella mushroom cap with orange Vidalia onion preserves, whipped goat cheese and watercress. The orange preserves mixed perfectly with the mushroom, which had been marinated in balsamic vinegar. Awesome! It came with a choice of pasta salad or slaw for $9.95.
When Brad makes burgers for him and the kids, I will often grill a portabella for myself. I soak the mushroom in a red wine vinegar based marinade and serve it on a toasted bun (onion ones are great) with roasted red peppers, smoked Gouda cheese, avocados, onions and mayo. Click here for the recipe. I serve it with a side salad topped with Annie’s Shitake Sesame dressing – tasty!