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Best Thing I Ate This Week: Wild game Italian sub sandwich at Dai Due

Matthew Odam
Wild game Italian sub sandwich at Dai Due. [Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

You won’t find nilgai on the menu at most restaurants. But Dai Due isn’t most restaurants. The animals were first brought to Texas from India in the 1920s before proliferating in the South Texas wild. The locavores at chef Jesse Griffiths’ restaurant source the vegetarian bovids from Broken Arrow Ranch to create a variety of cold cuts for their Italian sub ($13).

Depending on the week, your thick sandwich will come stacked with savory salami cotto, summer sausage and bierwurst made using nilgai and feral hogs. Griffiths’ restaurant and taqueria have been at the leading edge of Austin restaurants attempting to slow the scourge of the wild pigs.

The challenge with creating a perfect Italian sub comes down to layering the flavors and the textures of ingredients in a way that keeps the meats from overwhelming the sandwich. The firm meat here, the pig more supple than the leaner nilgai, is stacked asymmetrically, giving the bite a little room to breathe, and then topped with white cheddar that slaps a little nuttiness on the hog meat.

The house-cured meats are the centerpiece, but the sandwich wouldn’t work without the vibrant contrast and crunch of a pepper relish and shredded lettuce zippy with vinaigrette, which sit on top of the meat, and the bright sauce of mayo and mustard piqued with guajillo chile that is spread on the roll.

The concoction is sandwiched between a homemade white sesame roll that is equal parts crunch and cushion, just absorbent enough to soak in the tangy sauce and vinaigrette while still letting the main ingredients shine. It’s a perfect sandwich.

Info: 2406 Manor Road. 512–524–0688,

Hours: Breakfast and lunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Dinner 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday.

Best Thing I Ate This Week archives:

Vegetarian barbecue jackfruit sandwich at Kinda Tropical

Crab and butternut squash at Vixen’s Wedding

Fried chicken sandwiches at Pollo Las Abuelas