Sandwich Cubano from Cafeteria La Mejor (191 Suydam, Brooklyn), $8
This hefty sandwich might very well be the best Cuban sandwich you’ll find this side of Miami–and it pairs nicely what might very well be the best cafe con leche this side of Cuba.
Find the intersection of Suydam and Wilson in Bushwick, and we’ll guarantee you won’t miss this spot–it’s facade is hued turquoise and magenta, so fluorescent we suspect you can see it from space. The place turns out a limited menu of Cuban coffees, four sandwiches, and pastries; grab a counter seat or sashay up to the window and order the sandwich Cubano. You’ll get a knock-out classic rendition: roasted pork, ham, swiss, and pickles stacked in generous–but not off-balance–quantities on that white Cuban bread slicked with grainy mustard. The whole thing goes into a press until the cheese is melted and exterior is toasted, and we’ll admit we raised an eyebrow when we read the menu description declaring that our sandwich would arrive “eggshell crisp.” That descriptor proved exactly right, providing an immensely satisfying crackly foil to the hearty filling within.
Bonus: Cafeteria La Mejor also makes a cafe con leche that could go up against any other in the city, state, and possibly the country (we imagine it’d face competition down in Miami, but other than that, we’re not sure the contest would be close). Made the traditional Cuban way with plenty of sugar, a little bit of butter, and a pinch of salt, the drink is like a salted caramel dessert shot through with espresso–though less rich so, you know, you can feel less guilty–and it’s worth every penny if you have an extra $3.75 laying around. You can also pop by for breakfast and order that drink with tostada ($3)–toasted bread–a combination, the menu will tell you, that constitutes the Miami breakfast.
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Restaurants open at a dizzying pace in New York City, and keeping up with what’s hot takes some serious cash. If you — like us — need the occasional reprieve from a food-forward spending spree, you’re likely always on the lookout for cheap eats of high quality. In this space each day, we’ll highlight a tasty dish that rings in for less than $10, spotlighting places worth checking out when you’d like to get full while giving your wallet a break. Know of a great affordable bite? Email us.