Hero, hoagie, grinder, sub—whatever you call ’em, New Yorkers love a good sandwich, whether it’s a piled-high pastrami sandwich on rye to a gooey patty melt at one of the best diners in NYC. And the latest incarnations are the best thing since sliced bread, what with lively new sandwich shops in NYC dedicated to breaking the meat-cheese-and-bun mold, from stacked-high Dagwoods to jaw-testing Italian combos.
Sandwich shops in NYC
The cultish Italian sandwich spot was already a Soho legend, thanks to the masterfully dressed, painstakingly made subs coming out of its Sullivan Street flagship—marked with a cheeky list of rules detailing what they will and will not serve you (yay to huge, prosciutto-crammed heroes; nay to avocado wraps and silverware). At this spacious midtown offshoot, the rules have slackened slightly—along with combos like the speck-and-smoked-mozz Evangelist or the capicola-and-mushroom-paste Antoinette, there are breakfast sandwiches, coffee and salads like a classic Caprese.
After making his oddball mark on pizza at Crown Heights slice slinger PeteZaaz, Peter Entner and turned his attentions to another beloved comfort foodstuff: sandwiches. At this subway-tiled Boerum Hill haunt, Entner and chef Michael Kogan serve off-the-wall numbers like General Tso’s shrimp with tempura and roasted carrot ($10), coconut-crusted tofu with pea shoots and lychee muchim ($9), and Dr. Pepper–roasted pork butt with provolone and pickles ($9).
Ever wanted to take a bite out of Annie Hall? (We don’t blame you—Diane Keaton is downright delicious.) The closest you’ll get is the pastrami-Swiss-and-slaw baguette ($9.75) named after the iconic Woody Allen heroine at this Williamsburg sandwich parlor. Inspired by drive-in movie theaters, husband-and-wife team Michael and Naz Medici turn out film-themed sammies like the Hangover (beef hot dog, pickled jalapeños and cheddar on sourdough; $7.95) and the Rocky IV (roast beef, mashed potatoes, provolone and gravy on a baguette; $9.95) beneath a ceiling painted to look like the night sky.
One word: Zappie. That’s the must-order at this diminutive, subway-tiled Greenpoint eatery, a riff on Poland’s open-faced zapiekanka sandwich, which chef Peter Chrostowski crams with caramelized onions, mushrooms, fontina and garlic before giving it a spritz of truffle oil ($8). Vegetarians have plenty to choose from, like green apple and Brie with pesto on a baguette ($9), but carne lovers can get their fangs into meaty options like chipotle chicken thigh with fontina and cilantro-lime mayo ($10).
Until last year, Corey Cova’s goofball cooking was on display at gonzo uptown grubberies Dough Loco, ABV and Earl’s Beer & Cheese. Now the dude who gave us tartare pizza and foie gras Fluffernutters brings that whimsy downtown with this brick-walled East Village takeout shop, offering curiosities like mozzarella, miso mayo, and potato chips wedged into an English muffin’s nooks and crannies ($7), and a monster muffuletta boasting thick strata of meat (salami, prosciutto, smoked ham), cheese (Swiss, mozz, provolone) and a three-olive salad ($11 for half loaf, $18 for full).
No classic sandwich is safe from reimagining at this irreverent, brick-walled Williamsburg sando shop from the brawny Meat Hook butchers—a gyro turned into a yogurt-slathered lamb hot dog, a Cubano crammed with lard-poached carnitas. Beneath a neon sign spelling out the word “SANDWICH,” the team breaks down whole hogs and sides of beef for sammies like the Roast Pork layered with tuna mayo, escarole and spicy raisins, or the Roast Beef loaded with cheddar, fried onion and hash browns.
The new-world delicatessen moves the new-Jewish compass well beyond the tarted-up, appetizing standards that made owners Noah and Rae Bernamoff into food-scene superstars. Here there are North African flavors (smoky lamb sausage layered with harissa) and nods to regional foodstuffs (a reverent rendition of Buffalo, New York’s beef on weck). And while malty rye is the coin of the realm at most classic delis, the Bernamoffs also boldly pile their fillings between halves of onion-speckled rolls, fluffy pitas, and challah bread so cottony and ethereal it may be the greatest thing since…well, you know.
Sandwich-loving hearts broke when Michael Jacober flipped his wood-fired sammy canteen Glady’s into a Caribbean concept last spring, but the sandos at the brick-and-mortar offshoot of his beloved Morris Grilled Cheese Truck can turn those frowns upside down. Conveniently located next door to Glady’s, the counter-service spot offers a pair of grilled cheeses (cheddary Landaff for $5, Raclette with brown butter and pickled pumpkin for $8), along with more involved concoctions like the Mona (cauliflower puree, soft-boiled egg and roasted beets on focaccia; $8), or the Big Trouble in Little China, layering Szechuan braised pork with pickled cabbage and hoisin on a flatbread bun ($7.50).
The rotating varieties of num pang (Cambodia's answer to the banh mi) at Ben Daitz and Ratha Chaupoly's popular Southeast Asian–style sandwich shop include pulled duroc pork with spiced honey, peppercorn catfish and hoisin veal meatballs, all stuffed into crusty baguettes.
Imported and house-made salumi, including sopressata and cacciatore, are the specialties of this Italian deli and café. Mozzarella, ricotta and the dried mozzarella scamorza are also made fresh daily, and the spot stocks pedigreed provisions, like Delverde pasta and San Marzano tomatoes. Hell's Kitchen lunchers can snag one of the Carrera-marble tables for a quick salad, pasta or panino on Pain d'Avignon bread. Look for the VIP (Very Italian Panini), which layers prosciutto di Parma, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, fig spread and arugula on ciabatta.
SOUTHGATE Bar & Restaurant
Hotel restaurants are frequently overhyped and overpriced, but SOUTHGATE Bar & Restaurant, located in the JW Marriott Essex House New York, provides not only delicious, solid fare but floor-to-ceiling views of Central Park from which to enjoy it. A shared plate of three New Brunswick Lobster Tacos ($26) is chock full of tail meat, but the bright mango pico de gallo and crunchy cilantro lime coleslaw are the stars of the show, injecting fresh flavor into what could be a tired dish (here, it certainly isn’t). A black winter truffle flatbread ($19) falls, well, flat, the melted Brie rendering it soggy—the topping of roasted baby kale is delightfully airy, though. The entrees are where SOUTHGATE truly shines. Braised Angus beef short ribs ($34), served with a smoked gouda mac and cheese, shaved brussels sprouts salad and a tamarind BBQ glaze, are tender as can be—no knife needed. The gouda shone in the mac and cheese, though the orecchiette used to collect the delicious sauce were a hair overcooked. Any fish lover would not be able to resist the roasted king salmon ($42), cooked to a perfect temperature with its skin shatteringly crisp. Accompanied by a silky Maine Jonah crab risotto, jumbo green asparagus and a blood orange broth, it’s a dish that guests at the table fight over. Also, a note must be made of the striking earthenware bowls—they make each dish look even more special when presented. Service, as one would hope in a hotel, is fully hospitable without being suffoca
Venue says: “Stop by for our ALL-NEW Happy Hour menu available daily from 3-5PM for bar bites and cocktail specials on Central Park South.”