Muffelata at Z Square
Wanted to grab a quick dinner in Harvard Sq. the other night so ducked into the upstairs, casual Z Square to check it out (the downstairs fancy spot, which I peeked at, looked like a pleasant place for a cocktail at the very least). As a New Orleans food lover, I went for the muffelata sandwich. It was very tasty, but I wouldn't call it a muffelata, at least none like I've ever had before. For starters, it came warm, with melted cheese -- that wasn't a surprise, since it was listed in the hot sandwich section of the menu, but it served to alert me that we were in non-traditional territory here. What disappointed me, however, was the olive spread, which was layed on thin like mayonnaise and had little olive flavor and not a hint of garlic. So what you have is a tasty hot Italian cold cut sandwich with cheese, but nothing, I believe, that anyone from New Orleans would recognize as a muffelata. I give Z Square credit for the thought -- it's some sort of an achievement that muffelata's are now being sold around Boston at all, even though I'm sure 99 per cent of the local population never heard of 'em -- but I can't understand the olive salad deficit, since the muffelata's specialness comes from a heavy helping of oily, garlicky olive stuff. I did enjoy the side dish of potato salad, which is homemade with little red potato halves in a sweet-ish curry dressing (you can get apple slaw, which sounds interesting, or a green salad instead of the potato salad if you prefer).
I still haven't made it over to the Allstar sandwich bar to try their muffelata, but my curiosity is now aroused. Gotta give it a try, assuming it's still on the menu.
It is still on ASSBar's menu, and it is much more authentic than the one you're describing at Z Square. IIRC, ASSB gets its olive spread from Central Grocery in New Orleans.
Last time I had it there (ASSB, not Central Grocery), I saved half for lunch the next day, and once the flavors had a chance to meld together in the fridge, it tasted just like a muffaletta is supposed to.