Lunch-Hour Blues

Bunker Hill's new sandwich spot

The 2005 arrival of Mendocino Farms heralded a new era of lunch for those working on Bunker Hill.

Paper-wrapped sandwiches heaped on hearty bread–and salads named after the farms that source the greens–were such a welcome addition that the Northern California reference didn't seem to threaten local pride.

But where to sit? And, more important, how about a drink?

The latest from Mendocino's Judy Han is Blue Cow. Helmed by executive chef Joshua Smith, formerly of Church & State, it's a full-service kitchen and bar that sits at the opposite side of California Plaza, like a natural bookend.

Sandwiches are the focus, and you'll find creative renditions of the classics: the Tandoori Turkey Club with cucumber-mint raita and glazed bacon on naan ($12); the French Dip ($15); and Barbafaux's Torta ($12), an enlightening vegan response to the typically meaty construction.

Elegant accompaniments like taro and sweet-potato chips with sour cream-onion dip (click here for the recipe; $4) should be eaten at the high communal table on the patio where you can watch the sun set between skyscrapers. A noontime gin and house-made tonic ($10) is especially tempting to drink at one of the cavernous indoor booths.

Blue Cow, 350 S. Grand Ave., Downtown; 213-621-2249 or bluecowkitchen.com