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Photograph: Ilenia MartiniHot corned beef at 2nd Ave Deli The classic sandwich is as appealing as ever at this legendary Jewish deli, relocated to Kips Bay. Slices of mustard-smeared rye bread are malty bookends for a towering pile of supple, house-cured brisket, available in classic, lean or extra-lean cuts. 162 E 33rd St between Lexington and Third Aves (212-689-9000, 2ndavedeli.com). $15.50.
Photograph: Marlene RoundsThe Daniela at Alidoro This sophisticated tuna melt subs out Bumblebee and American cheese for chunks of oil-packed fish and a blanket of creamy mozzarella. Italian hot peppers and arugula keep the dairy's richness in check. Instead of standard white or wheat bread, splurge an extra buck for the focaccia. 105 Sullivan St between Prince and Spring Sts (212-334-5179). $10.75.
Photographer: Phyllis B. DooneyHot roast beef at Defonte's of Brooklyn To construct this sloppy jaw-stretcher, a teetering pile of thinly sliced, vibrant pink homemade roast beef is partnered with creamy mozzarella and fried eggplant. You'll want a handful of napkins ready for when the hot jus, soaking through the spongy Italian bread, races down your chin. 261 Third Ave at 21st St (212-614-1500, defontesofbrooklyn.com). $11.50.
Photograph: Jolie RubenPulled pork at Dickson's Farmstand Meats The star of the artisanal butcher's lunch stable is the tangy pulled pork made with heritage meat from upstate's Stony Brook Farm or Sir Williams Angus. Stacked high onto a seeded bun from neighboring Amy's Bread, the filling is crowned with a crunchy tangle of zippy homemade coleslaw. Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Ave at 16th St (212-242-2630, dicksonsfarmstand.com). $9.
Photograph: Ilenia MartiniTexas hand roll with avocado at Hill Country Chicken More like a tidy burrito than a portable sushi roll, this Southern-influenced wrap features slices of deep-fried avocado, coleslaw and mild pepper jelly tucked in a flour tortilla. A sprinkle of sesame seeds and sliced almonds lends an unexpected but welcome hint of nuttiness to this creamy revelation. 1123 Broadway at 25th St (212-257-6446, hillcountrychicken.com). $9.
Photograph: Jolie RubenRoasted cauliflower at Num Pang Sandwich Shop This Cambodian eatery's vegetarian sammie could woo a hardened carnivore. Shredded pickled carrot and cucumber, along with aromatic cilantro, brighten chunks of roasted cauliflower. Pureed eggplant and chili-spiked soy mayo swiped on the toasted roll provide heat. 21 E 12th St between Fifth Ave and University Pl (212-255-3271, numpangnyc.com). $7.25.
Photographer: Phyllis B. DooneyKung Pow Chicken Sandwich at Social EatzTop Chef alum Angelo Sosa deconstructs the fiery staple kung pao chicken into a saucy two-handed treat: Chunks of organic, sesame-soy--marinated fowl are iron-seared with Thai chili, then served on a crusty roll slathered with a roasted-peanut spread. Slivers of chopped lettuce cool the slow-burning heat. 232 E 53rd St between Second and Third Aves (212-207-3339, socialeatz.com). $10.
Photograph: Ilenia MartiniTorta de pollo at Tehuitzingo Deli Grocery The kitchen secreted inside this workaday Mexican bodega turns out peerless tortas served on Portuguese bread. The pollo offers shreds of dark- and white-meat chicken matched with pickled jalapeos, avocado and quesillo cheese. A stint on the griddle transforms it into a glorious, melty mess. 695 Tenth Ave between 47th and 48th Sts (212-397-5956). $6.
Photograph: Donald YipManouri cheese and fig at the Smile Hit this Noho hangout for toasted sourdough bread painted with sweet fig jam and filled with skinny slices of pears, arugula and a slab of creamy manouri Greek cheese. A drizzle of truffle oil makes for an earthy, pungent finish. 26 Bond St between Bowery and Lafayette St, lower level (646-329-5836, thesmilenyc.com). $10.50.
Between locally sourced ingredients and unexpected flavor combinations, bread's never had it this good.