I am not a person who regularly (okay, ever) eats at Subway, because it’s a chain that’s disappointed me too many times before. My nearly 13-year-old son, however, has developed quite the taste for Subway, since he can afford it with his allowance and can customize his sandwich to include whatever he chooses. Subway, it seems, is a rite of passage for a boy becoming a man, which is why I try to dampen my grumbling when he wants to go. Normally I let him go in on his own so he can fully appreciate his independence, while I putz around outside, conversing with hungry pigeons and chasing the occasional squirrel. But today it was particularly frigid and windy outside and, having no pigeons to keep me company, I decided to join him in the toasty warmth of Subway. And for the first time in years, I was compelled to order something for myself: the Cauliflower Curry Signature Wrap, made with Subway’s new crunchy cauliflower fritters.
Subway announced it would be testing this new vegan option only a few weeks ago, and it’s currently in limited release in Seattle and Baltimore. Normally we here at The Takeout don’t review things in limited release, as we don’t want to get everybody too hot and bothered for something they can’t get their hands on. But we’ve decided to make an exception to this rule, because unlike items like KFC’s Chicken & Donuts, which we all knew was going to get rolled out nationwide, these cauliflower fritters are vegan, and I worry that vegan items that don’t begin with the words “Beyond” or “Impossible” might not stand a chance. I implore you, our darling readers, to demand that Subway bring this wrap to every single one of its 24,000 locations, because in the often underwhelming world of wraps, it’s simply outstanding. It’s the kind of sandwich that could make me as devoted a Subway customer as my son. I only finished eating it an hour ago, and I’m already thinking about how I’d like to have it for lunch tomorrow.
The Cauliflower Curry Signature Wrap comes in the tortilla of your choice (I chose tomato) filled with red onion, green bell peppers, banana peppers, and four crispy breaded cauliflower patties, drizzled with Subway’s new curry sauce made with red pepper, basil, coconut milk, curry powder, red chili, garlic, and ginger. There are a lot of aggressive flavors at play here, and I was certain that in true fast food fashion, there would be one that drowned out the rest. This, miraculously, was not the case. The banana peppers, always my favorite addition, hit the palate first with a violent slap of acid, but it’s immediately given balance and depth by the absolutely remarkable (by fast food standards) curry sauce, which I’m frankly astonished that Subway has pulled off. It is well-rounded and luscious without being so overspiced that you wonder if the wrap’s other components serve any sort of purpose besides filler. I was able to taste each ingredient clearly, but not individually—everything in here is working together for the greater good. It is a very socialist sandwich.
Since it is my job to overanalyze sandwiches instead of just shoving them straight into my face, I concentrated hard on the cauliflower patties, which are also available in a Cauliflower Ranch Signature Wrap or on their own as Cauliflower Dippers with your choice of dipping sauce. They are phenomenal. I worried that the interior would be mushy or, even worse, hot-dog-esque, but it turned out to be very similar to McDonald’s Hash Browns. The flavor is unmistakably cauliflower, but as its best possible self. (Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, meaning that if it’s prepared carelessly, it will both smell and taste like hot, noxious farts.)
If the cauliflower patties stay on the menu, they will be the centerpiece of every sandwich I design, because I will once again be a person who believes Subway is a solid lunch option. This makes me very happy, because although it’s a huge multinational chain, Subway’s individual restaurants don’t carry huge operating costs and pose a relatively low financial barrier to entry for potential franchisees, making many locations feel a bit more like you’re supporting a local mom-and-pop operation. (Which you really sort of are, since the Subway corporate structure is notoriously less than supportive.) If you’re in Seattle or Baltimore, please go eat this sandwich. I want this wrap to last, and once you taste it, you’ll probably want that too. And if you live anywhere besides those two cities, go bug Subway on social media until it brings cauliflower fritters to your area.