I've eaten most of my tongue sandwiches in Jewish delis, so I was somewhat taken aback when a counter staffer at Salumi asked whether I wanted my order with cheese.
"Do people do that?," I asked.
"Some do," she said. "But it doesn't really need it."
Beef tongue is always delicate and incredibly rich, no matter who's cured it. It needs cheese like gelato needs ranch dressing - even if the cheese is mild and housemade.
And that's doubly true when the tongue is outstanding. At Salumi, the tongue is slippery and stretchy, with a spare beefiness that dissolves into a rich, salty finish. The meat - pink as a pencil eraser -- very nearly melts into the chewy Giuseppe roll. Other, lesser tongues are distressingly leathery; Salumi's tongue is like suede.
Every sandwich on Salumi's menu has its fans, and no amount of tongue talk will dissuade the most loyal of them from filing their usual orders. But should you ever tire of porchetta, there's tongue (except when there isn't: This is Salumi, which means sellouts are common. Call ahead.)