The 15 Best Sandwiches in New York City
There are countless sandwiches in the world, from basic PB&Js to fancy open-faced fare. But at their core, they're all pretty much just bread and filling. A dish so simple risks being boring, but when you bite into a sandwich that's been crafted with the golden ratio of bread, meat (or veggies), and condiments...it's like the scene in Ratatouille when Remy discovers the firework-inducing magic of combining the right ingredients at the same time.
In honor of National Sandwich Day, we've collected fifteen of the finest sammies in the city for you. But rest assured, these glorious creations are just as tasty any day of the year.
Breakfast Sandwich at Dimes
A good breakfast sandwich is as comforting and messy as any great romance. It's unique, and it's not easy. But Dimes (49 Canal Street, 212-925-1300) makes theirs look that way, in Sabrina De Sousa and Alissa Wagner's afternoon-sunlit room down the east end of Canal Street.
In a kitchen as slight as a whisper, cooks fold plush cashmere-like blankets of scrambled eggs with cheddar and avocado, nubby with pickled jalapeños, stained with a bright bell-pepper hot sauce, and burning sweetly with brown sugar and cayenne, for the sleepwalking beautiful people who press as close together as the tables: elbow to elbow, cheek to cheek. — Adam Robb
Photo courtesy Meat Hook Sandwich Shop
The Vegetarian at Meat Hook Sandwich Shop
The folks behind the beloved Meat Hook butcher shop in Williamsburg serve a somewhat ironic vegetarian option ($13) at Meat Hook Sandwich Shop (495 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn; 718-302-4665). But it might even be better than most of the carnivorous selections on the menu. It includes every sandwich ingredient in the kitchen that isn't meat, some of it pickled, some fried, some fresh. Fried eggplant, pickled cipollini, marinated artichokes, marinated tomatoes, fennel, cabbage, watercress, escarole, frisée, red onion, herbs, hash browns, and fried onions are piled high on an airy kaiser roll. It's sealed with an earthy and sweet spread made from fried beets, parsnips, and carrots. With so many flavors and elements mixed in, you won't even notice there's no meat between the bun — unless, of course, that's your goal. — Sara Ventiera
Photo courtesy of Ippudo
Ippudo's Pork Buns
New Yorkers are serious about food, but they're currently crazy about ramen. Few other food items would inspire multi-hour lines in the cold. Yet the prospect of hot bowls of flavorful broth garners such strong desires that intrepid diners are more than willing to do so — as long as it's good. Ippudo (65 Fourth Avenue, 212-388-0088), one of the first Japanese noodle spots on the scene in NYC, still attracts three-hour wait times on a Wednesday night. The bowls here are rich, deeply satisfying, and utterly delicious. It's hailed as the best of the best.
The secret, however, is that the star of the show isn't even what the place is known for. The hirata buns ($9) are the best thing on the menu. The freshly steamed rice flour rolls are warm and pillowy; one order comes with two, filled with juicy pork belly slathered in a tangy and slightly spicy special sauce. Each is layered with iceberg lettuce and mayonnaise, which lends a bit of cream and a nice crisp crunch. If you don't do pork, the chicken ($9) and vegetable ($8) are also topnotch. — Sara Ventiera
Junior's Something Different
What started out as a mostly kosher restaurant in downtown Brooklyn sixty years ago has transformed into a neighborhood institution serving something for everyone, representing the area's changing demographics. Now at Junior's (386 Flatbush Avenue Extension, Brooklyn; 718-852-5257) there's crab and barbecue pork ribs and Caribbean-style lobster tails, though the Jewish staples still top the list of menu items. There's excellent brisket. Killer latkes. The "Something Different," which brings both together in indulgent form: tender brisket sandwiched between two well-seasoned potato pancakes, all of it about the size of a construction worker's fist. Sour cream, apple sauce, and au jus or mushroom gravy come on the side. It's hearty, maybe gluttonous, actually, and it most certainly is something different. But, after one go, this decadent dish is something you'll crave. — Sara Ventiera
Photo courtesy of Baohaus
Uncle Jesse Bao at Baohaus
What Baohaus (238 East 14th Street, 646-684-3835) lacks in space (the Taiwanese eatery is small and easily crowded) it more than makes up for in its signature bao dishes — snack sandwiches served on mantou bread, a steamed variety native to China. Though baos aren't usually vegetarian, owners and brothers Eddie and Evan Huang took it upon themselves to create a meat-free bao as a nod to their vegetarian patrons. The Uncle Jesse bao, which features organic fried tofu, crushed peanuts, and Haus sauce, is simultaneously crunchy, soft, sweet, savory, and spicy.
In addition to making damn good bao, Baohaus offers much in the way of pleasant atmosphere: The Huangs have created a chic, laid-back space. It's a perfect spot to hang out and shoot the shit; tables are stacked with stickers, and a far-back wall is plastered with Polaroids, art pieces, and newspaper clippings — a millennial's dream. — Tara Mahadevan
Shelsky's Hot Pastrami Sandwich
Shelsky's of Brooklyn (141 Court Street, Brooklyn; 718-855-8817) started off by bringing smoked fish to the borough. Since then, the shop has branched out from aquatic creatures to smoked and cured meats. Everything from the pastrami and corned beef to the tongue is cured in-house then shipped off to Fletcher's in Gowanus for a touch of smoke. That's what makes the hot pastrami sandwich ($18.99) so good. The piles of steamed beef are set between two slices of Orwasher's plain rye bread (seeded and pumpernickel are also available), one of which is slathered with mustard. The meat is offered lean, moist, or extra moist — go for the extra. The sandwich could throw down with anything you'll find on the L.E.S., but fortunately, it comes without the crowds. — Sara VentieraNext Page
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