Hot 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.
The 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.
Hot 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.
Pulled 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.
Texas 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.
Roasted 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.
Kung Pow Chicken Sandwich at Social Eatz
Top 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.
Torta 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.
Manouri 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.
Looking for a casual bite to eat in Astoria? Head to The Barn, a local bar and restaurant specializing in new American cuisine. To start, split small plates like the tuna tartare with cucumbers and avocados ($11), pulled pork sliders with sauerkraut ($6) or the manchego-stuffed meatballs served with tomato sauce ($9). For the main course, you might go for the pierogies sauteed with brussels sprouts, bacon, red peppers and onion ($13) or the heartier braised short ribs served with roasted beets and garlic mashed potatoes ($19). The restaurant only serves homemade desserts, including key lime pie ($5), crepes topped with Nutella and fresh fruit ($6) and panna cotta ($5). As for drinks, you can take your pick of draft beers, wines by the glass or bottle and even a few signature cocktails. Stay past 11pm on Fridays, and you’ll enjoy the restaurant’s late-night happy hour: $2 off any drink until it closes at 3am.
Venue says: “The true definition of the hidden gem in Astoria.Happy hour, After dinner or unlimited Brunch deals. Visit thebarnastoria.com for more info”