The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

My Favorite Sandwiches in New York City and Beyond

yay, I love sandwiches grill cheese sammich cuban sandwich WIIIN!!! classic sandwich
A bunch of sandwiches that shall appear somewhere down this page.

Up until about 2005, I wouldn't have labeled myself as a lover of sandwiches. Looking back, I don't know what the hell was wrong with me.*

When my eyes were opened to the diversity of this great, simple culinary invention of bread filled with stuff, I realized, "WAIT, THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST FOODS EVER; WHY DIDN'T I EAT MORE OF YOU GROWING UP? AHHH CURSE MY FOOLISHNESS." So in belated honor of National Sandwich Day (which was three days ago on November 3, the birthday of sandwich inventor John Montagu), I'm going to write about a bunch of sandwiches I like. Because I won't have an excuse to do this again...for another year.

In randomly ordered, not well categorized fashion, here are some of my favorite sandwiches based on type, location, or cuisine. Most of the recommendations pertain to New York City.

* I should probably note that 2005 was when I started going to NYU and stopped a long streak of dieting. And thus the sandwiches came into my life.

French Sandwiches

chicken curry
Sandwich from Julien.

Eating good baguettes in Paris pretty much ruined all other bread for me. If you've bitten into a crackly, golden crust and chewy, hole-ridden innards, you know what I mean. I ate a lot of sandwiches during my semester in Paris—good bread is generally more important to me than good fillings, and when there's so much good bread (if you know where to look; I must thank Jeffrey Steingarten for his guidance), a good sandwich shouldn't be far behind. I ate most of my sandwiches from Julien since it was near my school (my favorite sandwich: Poulet St. Moret), but would make my own on occasion (shove some lettuce and cheese on butter-smeared bread—win!), assuming I didn't polish off the plain baguette first.

super croque monsieur

And don't forget about the croque-monsieur and madame, the "monsieur" being a hot ham and cheese sandwich, sometime open-faced, sometimes with cheese on the outer slice of bread; and the "madame" adding a fried egg on top. I prefer mine egg-enhanced.

I'm sure there are plenty of shitty sandwiches in Paris as well. High-tourist areas should generally be avoided for all things edible, but I think you knew that already. And when I say there's lots of good bread, I'm thinking in comparison to NYC, where boulangeries do not appear every other block, to my chagrin. Spend enough time bakery-hopping in Paris and you realize there's a generic bakery model to avoid.

Last day in Paris
Spring Break in Paris: Day 1

Julien: 85, rue Ste Dominique, 7th, Paris, France

Chilean Sandwiches

yay, I love sandwiches
Green beans! Meat! MAYO!

I regret not trying more sandwiches when I visited Chile last May—I only got to try them once at Rapa Nui in Temuco. I reviewed their sandwiches on Serious Eats but to sum things up in one word: MAYONNAISE. SHITTONS OF MAYONNAISE. If you hate mayo, you're so going to hate these sandwiches. Thankfully, my taste buds are in tune with the Chilean's: I say bring on the ungodly amounts of egg-and-oil-emulsion.

The sandwich pictured above, called the chacarero, consisted of a roll filled with juicy slices of beef, tomatoes, and a pile of steamed green beans, all slathered in mayonnaise. Nothing fancy, nothing "exotic," yet not something that has caught on in New York City as a sandwich craze. Someone come here and change that, please. I've only had Chilean sandwiches in New York City at San Antonio Bakery #2 in Astoria; WE NEED MORE.

I didn't eat these.

These sandwiches may be best eaten after a long night of drunken debauchery, but I'd happily eat one whenever.

Revisiting Chile at San Antonio Bakery #2

Rapa Nui: Aldunate 415, Temuco, Chile
San Antonio Bakery #2: 3620 Astoria Blvd, Astoria NY 11103

Norwegian Open Face Sandwiches

Lots of sandwiches.

I was befuddled by the popularity of open face sandwiches when I visited Norway three years ago. "There's nothing to hold down the filling! What do you guys see in this?" By the end of my week-long trip any progress I made in elegance of sandwich consumption was marginal, but I did gain a fondness for the single-slice construction. Less bread means you can taste the toppings better—at the hands of my weegie friend/chef Morten, those toppings included scrambled eggs, lettuce, red pepper, smoked salmon, and smoked mackerel. When I got back to the US, I made my own open face smoked fish sandwiches, but it wasn't the same; it's one of those things I may have to restrict to eating in Norway, or when a Norwegian friend makes it for me.

this is norway: day two

Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil

Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil Panino

The Italian trinity of tomato, mozzarella, and basil is my favorite group of sandwich fillings. (I never combined them with a French baguette though, for reasons unknown.) I perpetually fail at making decent sandwiches at home, but if I can slop together some good fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil, at least I know I will come out with something halfway-edible.

My favorite version (pictured above, and reviewed at Serious Eats) is from Doma in the West Village; they use excellent bread from Balthazar that gives me my favorite combination of crunchy and chewy, and lightly press/toast the sandwich so the creamy cheese is just slightly melted and everything is a bit warm. The cheese coupled with the punch of fresh basil and...whatever it is the tomato brings (I'm not a fan of raw tomatoes by themselves, but they're a necessary component in sandwiches such as this one) is transcendent enough to make me forget about anything else. For at least one bite.

girls' night out, girl's night in, another girls' night out

Doma: 17 Perry Street, New York NY 10014

Grilled Cheese

grill cheese sammich
Cheese ooze.

Butter-soaked slices of bread with a golden outer crust and a belly of gooey cheese—that just can't go wrong. This is one of the few things I can make without screwing up too much. I don't have a favorite place to get grilled cheese sandwiches (although I've eaten them a few times at Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop with much satisfaction); most of the ones I've eaten were homemade.

Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop: 129 Rivington Street, New York NY 10002

Chinese-Style Egg Sandwiches

beef and egg sandwich
Beef and egg.

I grew up eating egg sandwiches. Tepid, sort of scrambled-fried egg patties on stiff, nutty, whole wheat bread that no adolescent could appreciate, but I was stuck with because my health food-loving mom deemed it so. My impression of egg sandwiches was rather negative as a kid, my main memories being of unwrapping a lifeless brown lump of a sandwich when all my classmates had PB&J (later I'd find out I'm not a fan of PB&J, but hey, I didn't know that at the time), or sitting alone at a table under the fluorescent lights of the YMCA's basement during "after school care" and unenthusiastically eating an egg sandwich as a snack.

It wasn't until I had the Chinese-style egg (and perhaps some sort of meat) sandwich on fat, fluffy slices of crustless white bread that I realized, "Oh jebus, egg sandwiches are totally awesome." I don't know if I'm erroneously characterizing this style of egg sandwiches as a Chinese thing, but I've only eaten it at Chinese bakery/cafes and I can't imagine eating them anywhere else that wouldn't have a constant supply of freshly baked white bread. The beef and egg sandwich above is from Hon Cafe in Chinatown. Someday I'd love to try the egg sandwiches at Australian Dairy Company in Hong Kong.

Hon Cafe: 70 Mott Street, New York NY 10013

Falafel Pita Sandwiches

harissa falafel
Falafel pita sandwich from Taim.

New York City is laden with falafel joints selling uninspired falafel pita sandwiches. Admittedly, I say this not having eaten most of them; after one too many thin pitas nearly disintegrating from the sauce and full of dense falafel balls, you don't really want to take your chances. And I don't have to, because I have one major favorite, and two others that I'd eat at more often if they were conveniently located: Taim is number one, and Azuri Cafe and The King of Falafel and Shawarma are second.

Taim could be labeled as a fancy falafel joint, not that a $5 falafel sandwich is anything extravagant. They use excellent, freshly baked pitas and stuff them with light, crisp falafel balls that taste good even when not eaten fresh.

I've only been Azuri Cafe once, but I remember the falafel being of the light and crisp sort, and tasting especially flavorful in a way that wasn't provided at Taim. What flavor? Um. The memory escapes me; I was there a while ago. Alas, it's far out of my way, so I have yet to go back.

IMG_0218 copy
The King!

I've never tried the King of Falafel at the actual food truck in Astoria; my coworkers brought some falafel platters (not a sandwich by this point, but whatever) and even after suffering at the hands of time, the falafels were still exceptionally crispy and flavorful, which makes me wonder what it tastes like when it's fresh—life changing, perhaps. Loads of parsley and garlic seem to do the trick. It's no wonder he was a finalist in this year's Vendy Awards.

IMG_4772 copy
Falafel from Ashkara.

Maoz is a reliable choice for a good falafel that won't blow your mind away—I find their falafels too dense. But at least you can put whatever toppings you want on it. A better Maoz-like falafel-rie in New York City is Ashkara in the Lower East Side. Ed and I were pulled in by the prospect of their sign that said, "BEST FALAFEL IN NEW YORK." It wasn't the best, but it was much better than average and a good choice for the neighborhood. Read more about it at Serious Eats.

Amy Ruth's, Cafe Mogador, Taim
NYC eats: so many, oh dear god
Fried Chicken, Gelato, Falafels and Burgers (and Indigestion?)
Tristan Week: Day 2 (Israeli Sandwiches and Mild Tipsiness)
Kåre Week, Day 1: Falafels at Taim

Taim: 222 Waverly Pl, New York NY 10014
Azuri Cafe: 465 W 51st Street, New York, NY 10019
The King of Falafel: 30 Street & Broadway, Astoria NY 11106
Ashkara: 189 E Houston Street, New York, NY


cuban sandwich WIIIN!!!
The pork...oh, the pork.

I don't eat Cuban sandwiches/cubanos nearly as much as I should. If you don't love the combination of roast pork, ham, cheese, pickles, mustard, and mayo (I guess mayo isn't traditional, but I like it) in a loaf that's pressed to a crisp, I can't trust you. If you're vegetarian, just pretend you're not for a second, and then pretend eating this sandwich and think about how awesome it would be. I've eaten cubanos the most from El Castillo de Jagua, not because it's the best, but because it's conveniently located for me and I like the restaurant. I will gladly accept recommendations for where to get good cubanos in New York City.

another angle
Fancy Cuban.

While I love cubanos for their affordability—around $5 most of the time—the $17 version from The Spotted Pig is an exception. ...Maybe. The last time I went, over a year ago, it was $15. The current $17 is just over my limit of "reasonable sandwich price." Still, it's really tasty as a cubano-inspired fancy pants sandwich. Ed gives more explanation:

The Spotted Pig Cubano is the best in the city and maybe the world. The Balthazar roll is crunchy and yeasty; chef-partner April Bloomfield uses heritage pork shoulder to sublime effect by brining it for three days, slow-roasting it, and then cooking it in duck and pork fat; the pickled jalapeno peppers add just the right amount of heat; Prosciutto de Parma or speck (smoked prosciutto) is a better quality ham than you will find in any other Cubano around the city; and the aged gruyere lends the whole thing a deeply funky flavor.

Rebecca and I shared the cubano alongside their famous burger and agreed that the cubano was better. Ahh pork, so magical you are.

Otto, Ginger and Spice, El Castillo de Jagua and Fancy Food Show aftermath
Cuban Sandwiches and a Serious Eats Round Up
The Spotted Pig: Burger Vs. Cubano, Plus Some Banoffee Pie

El Castillo de Jagua: 113 Rivington Street, New York NY 10002
The Spotted Pig: 314 W 11th Street, New York NY 10014

Banh Mi

classic sandwich
Vietnam, what a tasty thing you have wrought. A banh mi from Hanco's.

Yet another sandwich I don't eat nearly as often as I should. (Alas, most banh mi shops are in Chinatown, but most close before dinner, and when I'm in Chinatown I tend to want to eat at a sit down restaurant anyway.) I love how this Vietnamese sandwich combines various forms of porky goodness (the "classic" option, at least) with raw vegetables, pickles, and herbs in a crusty baguette. The pile of vegetables almost makes me believe I'm eating healthily, even though under the pile lay the porcine treasures of ham, pate, roast pork, sweet sausage, and possibly other slabs of animal fats and proteins. Even better is that a massive sandwich usually costs some ridiculously low price of $5 or less, unless you're at a fancier banh mi joint.

IMG_0933 copy

I'm no banh mi expert. For that sort of knowledge, I defer you to Tam Ngo and her banh mi analysis post on Serious Eats of six sandwiches from Ba Xuyen, one of the city's most well-regarded banh mi shops that is inconveniently located for most people, unless you live in/near Borough Park. Baoguette is another popular choice as a newer, more creative banh mi shop (Ba Xuyen is old school), but I can't really endorse them seeing as they used my photos on their website without my permission or giving any credit (I contacted them about it, but have yet to get a response). Fail.

Philly Eats, Part II: Banh Mi from Q.T. and a Bucket-O-Bean-Curd
Get to Governors Island Before the Season is Over

Ba Xuyen: 4222 8th Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11232

Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop

spicy rizzak
Spicy Rizzak

Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop is my favorite sandwicherie in New York City. They don't make the best sandwiches you'll ever eat, but they don't have many competitors for the price—most sandwiches are $5 to $8—and their bread, the sesame semolina in particular, is great. The main downside is that they tend to run out of ingredients by the time dinner comes around. One time I went, they had run out of bread (...yeeaaah, well, it was just one time) and my friends and I ended up eating soups and salads.

My favorite is the Spicy Rizzak filled with a stack of sliced turkey, crispy bacon bits, melted cheddar, sliced tomato and onion, and hot chipotle mayo. There's no standard way of stacking the ingredients, from what I've observed, but it doesn't affect the deliciousness.

veggiest of them all
Veggies? Yes.

My second favorite sandwich is almost the opposite of the Spicy Rizzak: the Veggiest of them All, avocado, cucumber, sprouts, shredded carrots, tomato, spinach, roasted red peppers, onions, and Annie's goddess on 7-grain baguette. It's a salad hugged by carbs. My preferred combination would be half of this and half of the Spicy Rizzak—in my mind, they sort of equalize each other.

Tiny's Giant Sandwich and a cake chunk
pork, sandwiches, ice cream, and more
Gelato and Spicy Rizzak, In That Order
Donuts, Sandwiches, Ice Cream, a Party, and Pasta

Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop: 129 Rivington Street, New York NY 10002


IMG_7390 copy
Filet-O-Fish: Glorious.

What is it about the combination of fried dessicated fish patty and processed yellow cheese in a squish, steamed bun that triggers my stomach to go into sloshing mode? Don't. Know. My declaration of Filet-O-Fish love on Serious Eats assuaged my fears that I was alone in my Filet-O-Fish fandom. Screw McDonald's burgers; Filet-O-Fish is where it's at.


shack burger

I almost forgot that burgers are a sandwich, too. And when I want a burger, I think of Shake Shack. THE END.

...Or if that's not enough, check out my list of my top 5 burgers in New York City.

BURGER EDITION: Shake Shack and Rush Hour
Shake Shack, Lombardi's, and Stuff in Chinatown
Some Burgers from June: Shake Shack, Joe Junior, and Tournesol

Shake Shack: Madison Ave and East 23rd St. Southeast Corner of Madison Square Park, New York NY 10010


Someone pointed out that I'm missing a few crucial sandwiches (if you think I need to add anything, feel free to chime in). I can tell you off the bat that I've never had a muffuletta (when am I going to visit New Orleans?). And related to muffulettas, I'm not a big fan of sandwiches stuffed with Italian cold cuts (many an Italian hero has gone into my stomach, growing up in New Jersey and all), so those are out too.

lobster roll
Luke's Lobster.

What about lobster rolls? I did just blog about them. But their prices makes them quite inaccessible, and only having one clear favorite in New York City that I've only eaten once (from Pearl Oyster Bar) doesn't give it precedence in my "favorite sandwich" list (which I probably should have limited to the top ten). It has the potential when done right though. Maybe I'll go back to Pearl Oyster Bar soon...


And what about the Middle Eastern sabich? It's a simple and delicious combination of fried eggplant, hard boiled egg, hummus, Israeli salad, tahini, and amba sauce. There are probably a bunch of places to get it in New York City (usually at falafel-ries), not necessarily under the name "sabich," but I'd only ever think of getting it at Taim (I wrote about it on Serious Eats). Alas, I usually get falafel when I go there, perhaps after a tiny internal debate where I can't decide if I want fried chickpea mash or fried eggplant. If you've never had a sabich before, you should definitely check out Taim's. I think I need to do more sabich research; like lobster rolls, they have the potential to be life-changingly delicious—I just haven't eaten enough of them yet.

The only other sabich I've had is from Bite, and while it's a tasty sandwich, it's not nearly as tasty as the one from Taim since Bite doesn't fry their eggplant.

Addendum 2: Pane Bianco

So a week after I wrote this post I realized I forgot about the best sandwicherie of all.

Sign 1.


business cards
And deux.


this one is tuna


Pane Bianco in Phoenix has made possibly the best sandwiches I've ever eaten. It's ridiculous that I could forget about it; I unintentionally ignored the rest of America. It's no surprise that Pane Bianco would make the best sandwiches since it's helmed by possibly the country's best pizza maker, Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco. The fillings match the quality of the bread, and the bread is freakin' fantastic. Bread is key, man. So key.

tomato, basil, mozzarella
Tomato, basil, mozz.

You can't go wrong with anything at Pane Bianco. But I did have a favorite. And it wasn't the tomato, basil, and mozzarella sandwich, although that was awesome.

Browns Orchard roasted lamb, escarole

It was the roasted lamb and escarole sandwich. Methinks the lamb is a seasonal filling; I hope your visit is during lamb season.

I gush more about these sandwiches in my post about my trip to Phoenix over two years ago.

Pane Bianco: 4404 N Central Ave, Phoenix AZ 85012


emi s. / November 6, 2009 10:48 AM

This is one of the most awesome posts you have ever posted. I think I might need to go read it again, and drool over the pictures even more.

emi s. / November 6, 2009 10:51 AM

Also, this is the best international overview of sandwiches I have ever seen. Perhaps not the most complete listing of all sandwiches in the world, but the most awesome one!

janet / November 6, 2009 1:27 PM

omg so many of my favorite things to eat in one post. it's like a sandwich version of whiskers on kittens and warm woolen mittens song. drooooool.

susan / November 6, 2009 2:52 PM

Long time reader, first time commentor. Why now? Because I do love sandwiches, and that post just blew me away. Awesome.

But mostly I just wanted to say that I love the name "sabich" - I think I first came across it in your blog, or on one of your SE posts - 'cause it sounds to me like what a sandwich lover with head cold might whimper in his sleep. (I don't actually know how it's pronounced.)


egeria / November 6, 2009 3:16 PM

Oh wow. I'm in heaven. This is a beautiful post with absolutely fabulous photos.

I loooove sandwiches and am addicted to bread of all kinds. The grilled cheese was a staple of growing up, the addition of a dash of oregano took it to new levels. I've always wanted to try a mufeletta since reading about it in a book but alas, have yet to find a way to get to New Orleans.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go mop up the drool.

roboppy / November 6, 2009 3:39 PM

FN: Man I so did not eat enough banh mis when I was in Paris. FAIL!

Kare: Sounds like you've just set yourself a life goal.

Kevin: YAY! Another Filet-O-Fish fan!

Emi: Thanks! Glad you liked it. I want to eat the sandwiches of THE WOOORLD.

Janet: Now if I could just combine kittens and sandwiches. Or kittens eating sandwiches. That's a winner.

Susan: Thanks for commenting! I think sabich is a funny word too. :) Never looked at it quite the same way you did...but I will now.

egaria: Thanks! I have a feeling I wouldn't even like a muffulettas due to the cold cuts and olive good (I don't like olives that much) but I still wanna try one. And eat my way around New Orleans.

roboppy / November 7, 2009 1:22 AM

John: Eeeeeh I don't really eat cemitas or tortas much. :( Not that I dislike em, but I guess when I eat Mexican food I go for tacos.


Phyllis / November 7, 2009 7:23 AM

Fab post! Bookmarking it for future reference. After reading this I'm feeling both jealous AND relieved that I don't live in the city (this little piggy could easily be 500 lbs with all the eating possibilities)

p.s. Also grew up eating those chinese egg sandwiches. And I love me some filet-o-fish! :)

Patty / November 7, 2009 11:37 AM

Great post! Have you tried sandwiches at 'wichcraft? I highly recommend going there, though their prices are slightly higher than other sandwich shops.
Another good sandwich shop is Pret-A-Manger.

tristan / November 7, 2009 3:28 PM

this is easily my favorite post that you've ever put up. i love it so so so so much!!!!!!! although of course i have to say, as you would expect: oh, roboppy... mcdonalds? :D

Gloria / November 7, 2009 4:23 PM

My mom made me egg sandwiches too! It was horrible. Especially after sitting hours in my lunchbag and my classmates would smell that sulfuric stench coming from my direction. So embarrassing...

roboppy / November 7, 2009 8:42 PM

Phyllis: You can burn off the calories by walking!...between all the sandwich joints. :)

Patty: I've tried some of their sandwiches, and while tasty, just a bit too expensive to seem worth it. :( Dooh. I've only tried a few things from Pret...wasn't bad.

Tristan: YAY YOU LOVE SAMMICH, AND YOU LOVE ME! But no love for filet-o-fish...(sob)

Gloria: Oh god, I forgot about the smell. Yes, a distinct smell..of..funky egg. I'm surprised I wasn't more embarrassed as a kid!

Morten / November 8, 2009 6:02 PM

This post is magical. Today I had a couple of minutes while I waited for the cup final to start, and I skimmed this post, and reread your post on burgers in New York (through the link here). It made me hungry and inspired me to make a sandwich (closed, with prosciutto crudo, tomatoes, rocket, parmiggiano and eggs(!)) for my girlfriend. She love it.

Then I reread the post later today and it inspired me to make ragú sandwiches for the both of us as a snack while we watched Julie and Julia.

This post har also inspired my next entry for Nam!

Amazing post. Thank you Robyn.

olia / November 8, 2009 7:21 PM

omg, this post is the BEST! i mean its amazing! i love sammiches so its just so close to my heart!!!
(and hehe filet-o-fish must first and only McDee love)
Thank you!

Ed B. / November 9, 2009 7:25 AM

I just had dinner but those pics had me drooling for a sandwich..only problem is there aren't any good sandwich places near where I'm at..sadness.. T_T

Would it possible to have one of those cubanos FedEx'd to me? ^_^

lemonfair / November 9, 2009 8:55 AM

Also a filet-o-fish lover.

BLT - with really great ingredients this is hard to beat. Must have plenty of bacon so that's the predominant flavor, and really good, ripe, tomatoes, so this is a summer special for me.

Reubens - At home I make them open faced, pan-toasting the bread on both sides, warming the pastrami to place on top, drizzling a little homemade 1000island, topping with cheese to melt under the broiler, and then adding cool fresh sauerkraut. It's actually a modest sandwich this way.

Seth Gordon / November 9, 2009 10:53 AM

Re: Banh Mis - living so close to Chinatown you really need to explore a little more. Maybe their hours don't coincide with your work schedule during the week, but there's always weekend lunches...

For my money, these are the ones worth the walk:

1. Sau Voi Corp (Lafayette at Walker) - a little Vietnamese CD / lotto ticket / women's underwear shop that also (as if those three things weren't enough) has a little counter with two little old ladies selling Bahn Mi and other goodies. As a general rule I find that any food made by little old ladies behind a counter in a non-restaurant is good (see also: tacos at Tehuitzingo) and SVC is no exception. They have a few different styles, usually I go with the classic triple-swine (minced pork, ham, and pate - I think it's #1 on the menu) but there are other good variations as well. I favor that one, since there's a wider variety of textures, but the turkey/ham/pate/pork roll was really good too. There's a nice hint of cinnamon in the pate, and SVC (for my money) hits just the right balance of porkiness with sweet/tart pickled veggies.

They also have great Vietnamese meatballs on a stick. They're called "sour pork hash" or something. Meat + Stick = goodness.

2. Bánh Mì Saigon Bakery (138 Mott, near Grand) - another "hidden" counter, this time in a jewelry store. Again, go for whatever has multiple kinds of pork.

Also fond of: Nicky's, Baoguette (a little more expensive, but a damn fine sandwich), and for variation the Num Pang at Kampuchea (Cambodian, okay, but similar flavor profile - and good)

Not so fond of: Paris on Mott (too bready), An Choi (not enough stuffin'), Saigon Banh Mi (used to be great, fell off a bit - might be better again now, they tend to go up and down)


Re: Cubanos - I'm a little surprised you picked Castillo de Jaguar as the top Cubano. But then, Cubanos are a personal thing, I suppose. My tops for the neighborhood would be Cibao on Clinton & Rivington - you can usually get them to toss in a little extra crispy skin, which just puts it over the top for me. The pork has just the right meat:fat ratio, too. They also have the best Mofungo (mashed platains with crispy pork bits, sausage & gravy) in the area, hands down. Plus it's economical - one Cubano and an order of Mofungo will easily stuff two people into a food coma for barely ten bucks.

I know a lot of people put the Clinton Restaurant (Clinton & Houston) at or near the top as well. And they're good, I just find Cibao a bit juicier, crispier, more savory. Also I've found the bread a little dry now and then at both Clinton and Jaguar. But I suppose any way you look at it, between the three places, the LES is the epicenter of Cubano goodness in NYC. Most neighborhoods don't even have one good one, let alone three.

It amazes me, in fact, how many mid-range sit-down joints (Essex, Schiller's, Paladar, just to name three) offer "fancified" Cubanos for $10 more than the real ones - are they just paying tribute to the neighborhood? Or cashing in? I can cut Paladar a little slack, since it's Aaron Sanchez' place, and he certainly knows his Latin food - but still, if I'm in the mood for a Cubano that's not where I'm going. And usually, the fancified ones aren't even that fancy. I mean, gruyere? Who cares. Balthazar bread? Sorry, once it's been buttered and pressed and is soaked with pork juice and mayo the original bread doesn't make as much of a difference, as long as it's halfway decent. Jalapenos? Okay, a nice addition - but worth an extra $10+? I don't think so.

Still, I've been tossing around the idea of doing a "fancified Cubano roundup" - just to see if any of them are worth the price. I've seen six (seven?) in my neighborhood (LES as well) - it would just involve finding a rather large number of other eaters to partake. Six Cubanos is a lot to chow (and, for these fancy ones, it'd be an expensive test...)

wonders / November 9, 2009 11:16 AM

Australian Dairy Company is literally right downstairs from my grandparents HK apt! I used to go there to have breakfast every day during my summer vaca's there! I miss is sooooooooooooo much -=( I still think of it from time to time...

roboppy / November 9, 2009 1:24 PM

Morten: I'm honored to have inspired your sammich making! :) I WISH YOU COULD MAKE ME ONE!!!

Olia: Yay, another McD lover! We should get some sammiches one night? :)

Ed B: If only I could teleport a cubano to you. ;_;

lemonfair: I don't dislike BLTs, but they're not one of my favorite sandwiches. They're one of the seemingly few ways I like bacon though (in general, I'm not a fan of bacon..whoaa).

Reubens are another "I like em, just not enough to seek em out" sort of sandwich. Maybe I should eat some more of em.

tiagon: Thanks for the screenshot! I'm sorry about the virus crap; I got a few notes about that from other readers and I'm trying to solve the problem with Dreamhost. I don't know how to do it on my own because that page that the virus is on doesn't

Seth: I'm not sure what "close" is to you, but I don't think I live that close to Chinatown. To me, close is maybe...walking distance...or if it's the subway, within 5 stops. Or two miles? I just made up my own distance. With the MTA service changes this weekend it took me 45 minutes to get to Chinatown. :( I hope to try those other banh mi places someday though. I remember once I went to Chinatown to get banh mi for dinner and...a bunch of places were closed. Except Paris Sandwich. Which was just not good.

I like Num Pang too. Not so much that I'd go back often, but if I were in the neighborhood, yup.

I explained why I picked El Castillo de Jagua; I know it's not the best, but I haven't eaten at many places and it's fine with me. It's also the best photo of a cubano I have, haha. I will have to try some of your recs!

wonders: OMG WUUUT. Gaaah. I wish I had relatives in HK. I'll have to visit someday.

Chris H: I haven't had that! Wouldn't mind a chip butty. :)

Julie / November 9, 2009 4:17 PM

Oh, yom. Sandwiches are just about my favorite food. Next to ice cream. Bonus if it's ice cream sandwiches.

I want to eat all of these, especially the eggy ones. My boyfriend told me about the egg sandwiches he'd get with his dad when they'd visit Taiwan. Sooo jealous . . .

roboppy / November 10, 2009 1:51 AM

Julie: ICE CREAM SAMMICH..oops, I forgot about that. :P

Kelly: I hope they're actually awesome and I'm not over hyping them, But then I've only eaten them twice in my life!

Dave: Thanks for the info!

wunami / November 10, 2009 2:13 AM

Yes. Fish-O-Filet is awesome. I had some since that SE post since McD was doing a 2 for 3.33 deal or something. Still awesome.

There's a McD right across from my med school and the main affiliate hospital which is right next to a great bahn mi place. Sometimes I pig out and get both a bahn mi and Fish-O-Filet.

roboppy / November 12, 2009 3:06 AM

wunami: I keep resisting the Filet O Fish because going to McD just makes me feel bad...but..MY GOD there's a McD around the corner from my office. Aahhhhhahrh I'll give in eventually.

Carl: [puts a pillow on the table] Okay, resume banging.

John / November 23, 2009 12:55 PM

I realize this is a week old, but I wanted to recommend a cubano from Margon, on 46th between 6th and 7th. It includes Genoa salami, which may or not be traditional, but it's really good.

Lisa in Toronto / December 5, 2009 9:38 PM

I have never heard of a sabich! I am not a big fan of hard boiled eggs, but in the aim of trying all middle eastern veg sandwiches, I could break my habit.
Just wondering how you feel about pulled pork? Not my cup of tea, but I know people who are just crazy about it. In Toronto the Stockyards restaurant is apparently the best place for it.
happy eating!

Something random from the archives