For several years after I moved to Provo I’d see the wooden façade of Sensuous Sandwich on Center Street and wonder just what went on inside. I liked the alliteration in the name, but I also wasn’t sure if I’d feel comfortable going inside, or that I wouldn’t need to take a shower afterward. Fortunately I eventually got curious (and hungry) enough to try it out. Since then, and after many visits, it has slowly become my favorite sandwich shop in all of Utah.
Entering Sensuous Sandwich the first thing you notice is that the décor is sort of tacky-chic. On my first visit I was actually surprised at the lack of visual cohesion. The walls and tables are covered in random old comic strips, 1980s anti-drug posters (this is your brain on drugs…), and Polaroid’s of people who have eaten 24-inch sandwiches. Combined with the florescent lighting, none of these things seemed to set the mood for a particularly comfortable meal. On the other hand, the more times I visit the more I’m impressed with how much I like the ambiance. It gives you enough to look at while not trying to use nostalgia to make up for mediocre food. While lesser restaurants would suffer from doing the same, Sensuous Sandwich can afford it. The décor also stands in stark contrast to the generic, market-researched trappings of larger chains. When you go in, you feel like you’re a local in a local business. You also get the feeling that an actual person put up all the posters and comics, and that they did so because they liked them, not because they thought it would sell more product.
While the atmosphere of Sensuous Sandwich makes you feel like a local, the venue’s greatest asset is its food. Like any small restaurant, the quality of eating experience depends significantly on what you get. Obviously some sandwiches, while good, aren’t far-and-away better than what you can find elsewhere. On the other hand, I’ve never had a sub even remotely as delicious as the “Spicy Enticer.” With pastrami, pepperoni, Italian sausage, and your choice of trappings (just get everything and choose cream cheese), this sandwich may well give you coronary heart disease, but if it does you’ll never be happier about it. I usually get the four or six inch sandwich, though it’s so good I routinely wish I could pack away more. My other favorite is “The Tantalizer,” but with each sandwich there are numerous customizing options; order what you think you’ll like but don’t be afraid to experiment. For example, I don’t usually like cream cheese, but I love it on the Spicy Enticer. Like the décor the sandwiches aren’t fancy, but they’ll fill you up and, more importantly, they taste delicious. Also, one of the best things about Sensuous Sandwich is that you pay by the inch. Sandwiches start at $2.69 four inches and go up from there. Generally, with those prices Sensuous Sandwich is also one of the most economic places you can eat.
In the end Sensuous Sandwich is one of those places that make me sad I won’t always live in Provo. For now however, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that it’s one of Utah County’s best culinary treasures. It’s small, local, and gritty enough to be unique, while also offering some of the best food you can find.