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The 100 best dishes in New York City 2014: Best sandwiches

This year’s best sandwiches in NYC give classic combos—grilled cheese, lox-and-schmear—a much-welcome reboot

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz
Beet-cured salmon sandwich at Black Seed Bagel
Even the simplest sandwich got a modern makeover in New York in 2014. This year’s best sandwiches include a gussied-up burger, a blowout bagel-and-lox number and a bacon-egg-and-cheese breakfast sandwich that’s leagues classier than your usual a.m. bodega order. Sink your teeth into this year’s best sammies.

The B.E.C. at Egg Shop

The bacon-egg-and-cheese sandwich at Sarah Schneider and Demetri Makoulis’s cheery egghead haven puts your bodega standard to shame. Atop a lightly crusty Pain d’Avignon panini—more robust than the bready mouth fillers your deli turns out—chef Nick Korbee (Smith & Mills) heaps on cloth-aged Shelburn cheddar, smoky, thick-cut Black Forest bacon, pickled jalapeno and tomato jam, a sweet upgrade to your usual squirts of Heinz. This is one breakfast sando you’ll be craving all hours of the day. $10.

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Nolita

Beet-cured salmon sandwich on an everything bagel at Black Seed Bagels

It’s quite the feat trying to impress bagel-snob New Yorkers, but it’s easier when you’re deli doyens Noah Bernamoff and Matt Kliegman, especially when the bagels you’re peddling come padded with sunset-hued beet-cured lox and horseradish cream cheese. Watermelon radishes, dill and parsley freshen up the earthy salmon, while the salt that helps season their wood-crisped everything bagel nicely plays up the fish’s natural salinity. $12.

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Nolita

Burrata grilled cheese at Recette

Sorry, Kraft Singles—Jesse Schenker has just straight-up killed your grilled-cheese game. During brunch, the toque ditches the generic American stuff for smooth, rich Italian burrata, the cheese of the gods. The melty marvel is squeezed between a tangy, tight-crumbed grilled sourdough Pullman from Sullivan Street Bakery with a basil-forward house romesco on the side. Optional bacon or chorizo can be added for an extra two bucks, but let’s be real—that shit should be mandatory. $13. 

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West Village
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House Ham at Meat Hook Sandwich Shop

No classic sandwich is safe from reimagining at this irreverent sando shop—a gyro turned into a yogurt-slathered lamb hot dog, a Cubano crammed with lard-poached carnitas—but when it comes to ham and cheese, the Brooklyn butchers-turned-sandwich slicers don’t as much rework the original as redefine it. The salty, properly fatty midpoint between bacon and pastrami, the Berkshire swine is injected with brine, cured for 10 days, rubbed in brown sugar and smoked overnight. Those supple slices come hooded with melted American cheese and spicy mustard on slices of yeast-tang sourdough. Your basic grilled cheese never stood a chance. $12.

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Williamsburg

Arepa at Arepa Lady the Arepa Lady

Recommended

Maria Cano obtained legend status in the New York food-scene with her Jackson Heights corn-cake cart, which spawned off into a brick-and-mortar eatery this year, and for good reason—her exceptional arepas are marked by a crunchy top that bursts with salty, oozing queso. Cano slathers those sizzling pockets with butter and warms them on a flat-top griddle until they’re golden brown. No judgment here if you order two—or three. $4.

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Queens

Alidoro sandwich at Alidoro

When the cult Italian sub shop opened its latest location in midtown this year, the sandwich-loving masses roared in delight. Even more so when they got a bite of the new namesake hero, an old-world combo of salty prosciutto, earthy mushroom paste and hot and sweet peppers, freshened with crunchy fennel and a generous handful of bright arugula inside a superbly crusty sfilatino roll from Bensonhurst’s Royal Crown Bakery. The waitstaff is notoriously hard-pressed against additions or substitutions, but adding a layer of the shop’s fresh, creamy mozzarella to this stomach-popping sub is well worth the fight. $13.50

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Soho
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Burger at Navy

Seafood is the main focus of this nautical SoHo joint, but a beefy burger surprisingly grabs the most attention on the lunch menu. Hooded in aged cheddar, the juicy round is stacked with garlicky pickles and thick strips of smoky house-cured “billionaire bacon,” made from pork belly that’s sizzled in agave syrup and árbol chiles. The buttery sesame bun and shoestring fries only make the greasy goodness that much more gratifying. $16.

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Soho

Comments

2 comments
Qbertplaya
Qbertplaya

Your inclusion of a burger (which deserves a separate list) and an arepa (erroneous) makes this list suspect, but I'll be glad to keep the other picks in mind.

Mario P
Mario P

La Panineria Italiana - 1 west 8th street - Definitely the best ITALIAN sandwich shop in New York City