While the sandwich has long been as ubiquitous in New York (and pretty much everywhere else) as the pizza slice, it has within the past year or so been enjoying a renaissance. Places like Saltie, This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef, and Mile End have been reminding us of the distinct pleasures to be found in a the ostensibly humble creation, in some cases through a wildly imaginative re-interpretation of what belongs on bread, and in others by simply updating standard combinations by way of high-quality ingredients. The best of these sandwiches don’t pander to novelty or excess, but simply confirm the almost primal pleasure inherent in the form.
While we at Fork in the Road have an abiding love of the kind of basic, un-fussy sandwich that so many Americans were raised on (to wit, there are few things more perfect in life than American cheese encased by white bread, slathered with butter and grilled ’til it’s golden-brown and salty from whatever else it’s been sharing the grill with), we’re broadening the sandwich category to include panini, lobster rolls, banh mi, subs, and the odd bagel. This list is, as all lists are, highly subjective. If you feel that we’ve missed your own favorites, just let us know and we’ll add it to the readers’ suggestions page.
Next: the runners up.
Our Runners Up:
Alidoro’s Da Vinci (sardines, sun-dried tomatoes, Bel Paese cheese), 105 Sullivan Street, 212-334-5179 ; Num Pang’s roasted cauliflower num pang, 21 East 12th Street, 212-255-3271; ‘ino’s rucola, sun-dried tomato pesto, red onion and fontina panino, 21 Bedford Street, 212-989-5769; Choice Market’s slow-roasted pulled pork “Cubano”-style, 318 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-230-5214; ‘wichcraft’s white anchovy, soft-cooked egg, salsa verde, and frisee, various locations, wichcraftnyc.com; Birdbath Bakery’s smoked tofu with pickled purple onions on whole wheat, 223 First Avenue, 646-722-6565; Virgil’s Owensboro lamb sandwich, 152 West 44th Street, 212-921-9494; Sheep Station’s roast leg of lamb sandwich, 149 Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-857-4337; Mile End’s smoked meat on rye, 97A Hoyt Street, Brooklyn, 718-852-7510; Luke’s Lobster lobster roll, 93 East 7th Street, 212-387-8487; Abraco’s butternut squash and Parmesan, 86 East 7th Street, 212-388-9731; Birch Coffee’s smoked tofu with walnut pesto on focaccia, 5 East 27th Street, 212-686-1444; Saxelby Cheese’s grilled Pawlet and pickle on ciabatta, Essex Street Market, 212-228-8204; Faicco’s mortadella and raw onion hero, 260 Bleecker Street, 212-243-1974; Banh Mi Saigon’s crispy pork banh mi, 138 Mott Street, 212-941-1541.
Next: Numbers 10-6
10. No. 7’s fried tofu slider, 7 Greene Avenue, Fort Green, Brooklyn, 718-522-6370
9. This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef’s roast beef and mozzarella, 149 First Avenue, 212-253-1500
8. El Quinto Pino’s uni panino, 401 West 24th Street, 212-206-6900
7. Xi’an Famous Foods’ savory cumin lamb “burger”, 88 East Broadway, #106, no phone
6. Fort Defiance’s muffuletta, 365 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, 347-453-6672
Next: Numbers 5 through 1
5. Porchetta’s porchetta, 110 East 7th Street, 7212-77-2151
4. Ba Xuyen’s pork meatball banh mi, 4222 Eighth Avenue, Sunset Park, Brooklyn, 718-633-6601
3. Saltie’s Captain’s Daughter (sardines, salsa verde, pickled hard-boiled eggs, capers on focaccia), 378 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 718-387-4777
2. Katz’s combination pastrami and corned beef on rye, 205 East Houston Street, 212-254-2246
1. Russ & Daughters’ Superheeb (whitefish salad, wasabi flying fish roe, horseradish cream cheese), 179 East Houston Street, 212-475-4880
1. Xi’an Famous Foods pork “burger”
2. Red Hook Lobster Pound’s lobster roll; 284 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, 646-326-7650
3. Tulcingo Del Valle’s spicy pork cernita and tongue cernita ; 665 Tenth Avenue, 212-262-5173
4. Kati Roll’s chicken tikka roll; various locations, the katirollcompany.com