This sandwich is tough to chew, but it’s anything but stale.
If you see an extra large, sumptuous looking sample of Think Sweet Café’s signature sandwich, the Mefuneket, on display at the Midwood restaurant’s storefront, don’t be shocked by the $3,500 price tag — this hoagie’s ingredients include limestone, epoxy, and some delicious shards of glass.
“It’s a little hard on your teeth,” said the creator, sculptor Robin Antar. “You might need diamond blades to digest this one.”
The Midwood stone carver has made a name for herself by taking large chunks of limestone and whittling them down to resemble everyday objects, like boots, jean jackets, and — of all things — mayonnaise.
“I’m a sculptor and stone carver,” Antar explained. “I have my stuff all over the country and I’m known for doing realism in stone — realistic jackets, jeans, boxing gloves, Oreo Cookies, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise — food. It’s very tedious work, you spend maybe a thousand hours on a piece.”
But there’s always been one Midwood staple the sculptor has been reluctant to tackle, the Mefuneket, despite petitions from sandwich inventor Morti Robinowitz.
“Well, she’s a customer of mine and I told her, why don’t you make a nice sandwich, and we’ll display it,” said Robinowitz, Think Sweet’s owner and the mind behind the Mefuneket. “It took her quite a while, but she finally got to work and it came out beautifully. The colors, everything matches.”
Robinowitz also takes his time when preparing the edible version of the Mefuneket, a popular Brooklyn original consisting of tomato, cucumber, olive, egg, and cream and Muenster cheeses, which Moti arranges with characteristic — occasionally frustrating — deliberateness.
“You ever see the Seinfeld episode, with the guy in the soup kitchen?” asked Antar. “It’s kind of a joke, because you can’t rush him. He’s making the sandwich and places the cucumber all perfect, and you can’t rush him.”
Antar’s Mefuneket, however, is anything but edible.
The 20-inch-long, five-inch-high hoagie is made of limestone bread, epoxy and glass cream cheese, and Sculpey clay Muenster cheese baked at high heat to achieve a translucent effect.
The sculptor was reluctant at first to take on the task, and had to invent new — and top secret — techniques to get the bread just right.
“Limestone doesn’t look like bread, so I developed a technique to stain the stone,” Antar explained. “When people ask me how long it took to make, I say 40 years, because it takes years of experience to make the stone do what you want.”
The artist might have been sceptical about the outcome, but Robinowitz’s customers are certainly pleased — a few have even inquired about purchasing the limestone sandwich.
“People really like it,” said Robinowitz. “People have been asking about it and, if someone likes it, I’ll give them [Antar’s] number.”
Antar’s isn’t the only Brooklyn sandwich in disguise — last April, pastry chef Antonio Fiorentino of the Cobble Hill Monteleone Bakery & Café crafted a cake in the spitting image of a tasty cheeseburger.
Think Sweet Café [546 Kings Hwy. between E. Third and E. Fourth streets in Midwood, (718) 645-3473]Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cn