Well, isn't the shrimp toast at Sink|Swim (3213 W. Armitage Ave., 773-486-7465; sinkswimchicago.com) just adorable? Kind of makes you wish every sandwich arrived speared with a tiny umbrella, as if inviting you to slow down and relax. But the dish's breezy first impression belies a rather complex and mysterious true nature.
For starters, where's the shrimp? The dish's name suggests plump shrimp sandwiched in the middle, but that's not the case. Instead, pureed shrimp join pork sausage to make a version of n'duja, a traditional Italian spreadable sausage. Though outfitted with a golden-brown veneer, the brioche is actually soft and supple. You could almost call it light if there wasn't so much butter involved. The crunch actually comes from the thinly sliced radish.
Not all of the components surprise. The menu proudly declares that the aioli includes good old-fashioned MSG, which might be a deal breaker to some. But you should appreciate the extra savory character it lends.
So, let's recap. This sandwich contains a tiny umbrella, pureed shrimp, spreadable sausage, and MSG in the aioli. And yet, against common sense, it somehow still holds together, offering a great appetizer to start your meal.