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  • Photograph: Marianne Rafter

    Fried chicken sandwich at Van Horn Sandwich Shop

    Fried chicken sandwich at Van Horn Sandwich Shop
    Southern comfort arrived on Court Street this year via this laid-back spot, offering multiple riffs on low-country sandwiches. Our favorite of the bunch is the fried fowl: Chef Rick Hauchman salts chicken breasts from nearby butcher Los Paisanos before soaking them in jalapeo-spiked buttermilk. He then dredges the fillets in flour and fries them to order, nestling the crispy, craggy result in a Caputo's bun with crunchy red cabbage--cilantro slaw. The final touch: a smear of the house's thick and fiery carrot habanero hot sauce. 231 Court St between Baltic and Warren Sts, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (718-596-9707, vanhornbrooklyn.com). $12.

  • Photograph: Beth Levendis

    Grilled flank-steak sandwich at Bluebird Sky

    Grilled flank-steak sandwich at Bluebird Sky
    The beef for this standout sammie spends 24 hours in a flavor-boosting bath of oil, garlic, crushed peppercorns and pimentn. Slices are seared to a juicy medium-rare, covered with nutty melted Gruyre and folded into a crusty Grandaisy baguette with tangy house-pickled shallots. 121 Baxter St between Canal and Hester Sts (212-966-4646). $9.

  • Photograph: Daniel Krieger

    Pulled duroc pork sandwich at Num Pang Sandwich Shop

    Pulled duroc pork sandwich at Num Pang Sandwich Shop
    There's no way to eat this sandwich gracefully, but that's part of the fun. A chili-mayo-smeared toasted Parisi roll acts as the vessel for a mound of smoky spiced-honey-glazed pork. The crown of julienned pickled carrots, fresh cilantro and thinly sliced cucumber helps keep the meat's richness in check. 21 E 12th St between Fifth Ave and University Pl (212-255-3271) * 140 E 41st St between Lexington and Third Aves (212-867-8889) * numpangnyc.com. $7.75.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    The Dave at City Sandwich

    The Dave at City Sandwich
    Finding a new go-to sandwich in midtown is no small thing---it's like discovering a reliable hairdresser who gets your bangs right every time. That's why we can't help but gush about the reliably delicious Dave, always on call when we need a crusty baguette stuffed with crumbled Italian sausage, fresh tomato, diced broccoli rabe, house-made piri-piri sauce and a gooey layer of melted mozzarella. Douse it with peperoncini-infused olive oil for a little extra punch. 649 Ninth Ave between 45th and 46th Sts (646-684-3943). $9.95.

  • Photograph: Daniel Krieger

    The Peter Shelsky at Shelsky's Smoked Fish

    The Peter Shelsky at Shelsky's Smoked Fish
    This new-school appetizing shop pimps out the old bagel-and-lox format, layering three kinds of fish---silky Eastern Gasp salmon, soft sable and sweet pickled herring in cream sauce---on a chewy Kossar's round. Scallion cream cheese pumps up the richness, and pickled onions cut through the fat. 251 Smith St between DeGraw and Douglass Sts, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (718-855-8817). $11.50.

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    That Way at This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef

    That Way at This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef
    Slices of supple, seasoned top round are piled on a chewy Italian loaf in this gloriously sloppy behemoth. Creamy Lioni Latticini mozzarella and a dousing of juicy gravy made from thickened pan drippings crown this stellar roast beef sandwich---a blue-chip drunk food that's available for your booze-softening pleasure well into the wee hours. 149 First Ave between 9th and 10th Sts (212-253-1500). Hero $9.50, roll $5.50.

  • Photograph: Jay Muhlin

    Chicken Parmesan at Best Pizza

    Chicken Parmesan at Best Pizza
    To elevate the tired Italian standby, chef Frank Pinello brines deboned chicken thighs, showers them in flour and dunks them in the deep fryer. The crunchy, juicy fowl is crowned with marinara, creamy house-made mozzarella and basil leaves, and presented inside a squat, oven-charred Roberta's baguette that's tasty to the last crumb. 33 Havemeyer St between North 7th and 8th Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-599-2210, best.piz.za.com). $9.

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    The lamb burger at James

    The lamb burger at James
    On Monday nights, when James rolls out its special burger menu, the main attraction is not a trendy Pat LaFrieda--beef blend but rather a loosely packed half-pound puck of lamb. It's dusted in cumin, seared in a cast-iron pan, anointed with warm goat cheese and cipollini onions, and snuggled inside a sturdy, sesame-studded semolina roll that cocoons the rich juices. 605 Carlton Ave at St. Marks Ave, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (718-942-4255, jamesrestaurantny.com). Mondays $12, as special $16.

  • Photograph: Daniel Krieger

    The Reuben at Court Street Grocers

    The Reuben at Court Street Grocers
    Co-owners Eric Finkelstein and Matt Ross take an artisanal approach to this deli staple. Two buttery slices of Orwasher's wine bread bookend a mound of short-rib corned beef, house-cured with salt, cinnamon and pantry's worth of other spices. Topping the pile is gooey Emmentaler cheese, tangy Russian dressing and a pile of kraut. 485 Court St between Huntington and Nelson Sts, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (718-722-7229, courtstreetgrocers.com). $9.

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Halloween sandwich at No. 7 Sub

    Halloween sandwich at No. 7 Sub
    The magnificently bizarre lineup of sandwiches at No. 7 Sub changes with the seasons---and with the capricious will of the creator, chef Tyler Kord. Last fall he debuted the Halloween---a monster mash-up of short rib braised with garlic, jalapeo and onion, plus roasted sweet potatoes and gooey, melted marshmallows. The finished product calls to mind a Thanksgiving casserole; an acidic red wine and shallot vinaigrette keeps the sugar high in check. Ace Hotel, 1188 Broadway at 29th St (212-532-1680, no7sub.com). $9.80.

  • Photograph:NItzan Krismksy

    Pastrami sandwich at Liebman's Deli

    Pastrami sandwich at Liebman's Deli
    Since 1953, this certified-kosher Jewish deli has cranked out killer house-made pastrami. Brisket is massaged with plenty of salt, sugar and pepper, then smoked and steamed till it's fall-apart tender. Sliced thin, stacked high on rye bread and swiped with mustard, the pastrami is supple, zesty perfection. 552 W 235th St between Johnson and Oxford Aves, Bronx (718-548-4534, liebmansdeli.com). $9.50.

  • Photograph: Daniel Krieger

    Pork souvlaki at Souvlaki GR

    Pork souvlaki at Souvlaki GR
    This food-truck phenom has busted into the brick-and-mortar game with a fresh refinement of street souvlaki. Herb-marinated pork butt is seared over wood-charcoal embers and dunked in lemon juice. The chewy, spiced pieces are tucked in a fluffy grilled pita with house-made tsatsiki, red onion and tomatoes, plus the traditional Greek accompaniment: two french fries seasoned with salt, pepper and oregano. 116 Stanton St between Essex and Ludlow Sts (212-777-0166). $4.50.

Photograph: Marianne Rafter

Fried chicken sandwich at Van Horn Sandwich Shop

Fried chicken sandwich at Van Horn Sandwich Shop
Southern comfort arrived on Court Street this year via this laid-back spot, offering multiple riffs on low-country sandwiches. Our favorite of the bunch is the fried fowl: Chef Rick Hauchman salts chicken breasts from nearby butcher Los Paisanos before soaking them in jalapeo-spiked buttermilk. He then dredges the fillets in flour and fries them to order, nestling the crispy, craggy result in a Caputo's bun with crunchy red cabbage--cilantro slaw. The final touch: a smear of the house's thick and fiery carrot habanero hot sauce. 231 Court St between Baltic and Warren Sts, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (718-596-9707, vanhornbrooklyn.com). $12.

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