Best sandwiches in NYC

Maybe it's the economy. Maybe it's the weather. Whatever the reason, NYC is eating its way through a new golden age of the sandwich.

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  • Baoguette's catfish sandwich

  • 'inoteca e Liquori Bar

  • Defonte's

  • Caracas Arepa Bar

  • Peaches Market Cafe

  • Porchetta

  • Simon Sips

Baoguette's catfish sandwich

’inoteca e Liquori Bar
At the end of January, Jason and Joe Denton’s Bar Milano, their attempt at conspicuously upscale dining, closed after an eight-month run. It reopened a week later as the second branch of ’inoteca, the brothers’ panini palazzo. Jason himself has admitted that the restaurant’s new incarnation is “much more price-effective than Bar Milano was,” and locals seem to agree. The hungry crowds have already descended, drawn by the (relatively) affordable panini combinations like the soprassata, goat cheese and tapenade ($11) and fontina, roasted garlic, chili flakes and basil ($11, pictured). A bonus: The restaurant will start delivery this month. 323 Third Ave at 24th St (212-683-3035)

Baoguette
Last December, Thao Nguyen, the wife of chef Michael Bao Huynh, began serving banh mi out of a former Blimpie shop. The storefront lineage is appropriate: Nguyen’s Vietnamese sandwiches are what might result from a chain-shop sub climbing the evolutionary ladder. Her creations are formidable: Nguyen isn’t shy with spices, nor does she skimp on fillings. While the namesake pork, pt and pulled-pork triple threat is the main draw, the $7 catfish sandwich shouldn’t be overlooked. The moist fish is ably paired with cucumber relish, pickled red onions and honey mustard sauce, stuffed into a Tom Cat baguette. The only other thing this gloriously outsize mess calls out for is a stack of napkins. 61 Lexington Ave between 25th and 26th Sts, 212-518-4089)

Defonte’s
Last month’s opening of the famed 87-year-old Red Hook sandwich mecca’s Manhattan branch was greeted with a fervor not seen since Shake Shack opened uptown. The reason for the crowds? Over-the-top heros that epitomize the brawn and brio of the Brooklyn of yore—these brutes are fit for longshoremen. Though they’ve reportedly been scaled down from their Brooklyn proportions, these babies are practically the size of, well, babies. Check out the $9.95 Sinatra Special (pictured)—steak pizzaiola and fresh mozzarella—for a taste of old-school excess. 261 Third Ave at 21st St (212-614-1500)

Caracas Arepa Bar
The Williamsburg offshoot of the East Village hot spot may be larger than its older sibling, but it offers the same addictive Venezuelan cornmeal patties. Roughly the diameter of a tea saucer, the arepas are thin yet pleasingly chewy. Served piping hot, they’re perfect (if messy) vessels for an impressive variety of fillings, and provide definitive proof that happiness can be directly traced to the consumption of warm carbohydrates. Standouts include the $6.75 La Playera (shredded whitefish with onions and herbs) and the $7.35 La Surena (grilled chicken and chorizo, pictured). We could warn you that it’s difficult to order just one, but that’s like saying that grass is green. 291 Grand St between Havemeyer and Roebling Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-218-6050)

Peaches Market Caf
Fans of the Pig’s illustrious sandwich menu, despair not. Although the lunch-oriented offshoot of the Smoke Joint is no more, the vast majority of its sandwiches live on at the Joint’s kid sister, Peaches Market Caf. Owners Craig Samuel and Ben Grossman have put as much love into their substantial sandwiches as they do into their ’cue, stuffing first-rate fillings onto so-called bone bread—like the love child of a ciabatta and a soft roll. The $6 eggplant, smoked-mozzarella and tomato jam combo is hearty enough to satisfy a meat lover, but carnivores are more likely to be swayed by the charms of the $7 meat-loaf and melted-Swiss sandwich (available in both turkey and beef varieties, pictured). Whatever you order, save room for generous sides like the $4 roasted cauliflower with almonds. And Pig mourners, take heart: Plans for a resurrection are already under way. 393 Lewis Ave at MacDonough St, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn; 718-942-4162)

Porchetta
Sara Jenkins’s tiny East Village shop is less a restaurant than a shrine: Step inside and you’re immediately confronted by hulking rolls of roasted pork loins glistening within a display case. While her signature porchetta sandwich was justly lauded as the best thing we ate last year, an extremely worthy alternative is the $8 pork rag sandwich (pictured), served on weekdays only. Mounded onto a toasted Sullivan Street ciabatta bread, the rag is made from pork scraps that are slow-cooked, with monklike devotion, in a tomato-based sauce for three days. The resulting chunky stew boasts a rich yet mellow flavor that showcases the perfect harmony of pig, tomatoes and fat. 110 E 7th St between First Ave and Ave A, 212-777-2151)

Simon Sips
Simon Mammon’s bright, cozy caf and wine bar, in the old Tasting Room space, upholds its predecessor’s tradition of working with simple but exquisite ingredients. The daytime menu features plenty of house-baked quick breads and pastries, but the most potent draw is the sandwiches. Served on light, chewy stecca from Sullivan Street Bakery, they manage to be at once delicate and filling: It’s the quality of the components, rather than the size of the finished product, that sets it apart. Case in point: The $6 hard-cooked egg sandwich (pictured), with creamy roasted green peppers, spinach and just a lick of aioli, provides an elegant, flavorful twist on egg salad—as well as fuel for a long afternoon. 72 E 1st St between First and Second Aves, 212-388-0614

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