Few dishes are as versatile as a sandwich, and if done right, this handheld classic has been known to pump serotonin directly into our bread-and-meat-loving brains. And with more restaurants opening (and reopening) for spring, we’ve been seeing tons of exciting, new sandwiches in the city - giving you ample opportunity to introduce a new torta, meatball parm, or chicken katsu sandwich to your lunch routine. Here are 7 of our favorite new sandwiches in NYC.
Thai Diner’s banana blossom chicken salad on a sesame seed bun is more than an aggressively delicious sandwich. It’s an edible homage to the restaurant’s now-closed sister location, Uncle Boons. Before they shut down in March 2020, Uncle Boons historically served the spicy, refreshing contents of this excellent sandwich as a cold appetizer. In sandwich form at Thai Diner, crispy shallots and cashews provide the pile of pulled chicken with added crunch. Lime juice, Thai chilis, and lemongrass are muted slightly by a pillowy sesame seed bun. This heaping cold sandwich is perfect in all temperatures, and should remind anyone who’s ever been to Uncle Boons why they liked that place so much.
Once ubiquitous on the Lower East Side (and in subsequent Eastern European Jewish communities around the city), the bialy is now a disappearing breed of bread. Which is partly why we were so thrilled to see this baked, onion-topped sourdough puff included in one of Mel’s sandwiches recently. Their version is cut in half and loaded with smoked trout spread, pickled onions, radish, and dill sprigs. The bialy’s chewy near-burnt bottom and soft, caramelized onion top makes the whole thing taste like you’re eating French onion soup with a couple of trout buddies - and the tiny pinch of sea salt flakes take it over the edge. We’d happily eat this bialy sandwich once a week.
Guevara’s is a vegan cafe in Clinton Hill from the team behind Mekelburg’s. While you can pick up a houseplant, a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s, and an excellent doughnut here, it’s the eggplant torta you should go out of your way for. This excellent sandwich is served in two halves and when you open it up, you’ll be greeted by a rainbow-colored chorus of crispy eggplant cutlets, refried beans, creamy purple cabbage, tomato, and avocado. If you like crunchy sandwiches with lots of texture, you won’t be disappointed.
Some rappers promote a new album by getting grilled by Charlamagne on Power 105.1 or releasing a music video with an absurd number of celebrity cameos. But for his Only For Dolphins album, Action Bronson decided to collaborate with an incredible Whitestone spot, Utopia Bagels, to create a sandwich filled with griddled beef salami, lots of melty American cheese, mayo, jalapeños, and roasted chili pepper sauce all on a sesame bagel. The fried salami and cheese make this thing inherently rich, but the spicy elements combined with the mayo and pleasantly chewy bagel cut through it all. This sandwich kind of feels like you’re eating a spicy, cheesy hot dog on a bagel - in the best way possible.
Wildair has been trying out all kinds of new menu items this past year - donuts, a selection of sauces, and a fried chicken sandwich that is up there with some of the best in the city. The breading is fried perfectly, with craggly edges that make them extra loud to crunch on, and the actual chicken thigh spills out of the seeded potato roll. It’s a crackly, yuzu kosho mayo-y mess, and one of the best things you can eat on the LES right now.
You could put just about anything between a sliced-open, sourdough ciabatta from Rolo’s and it may qualify for one of the city’s best new sandwiches. (It’s sturdy on the outside and soft in the middle, full of air pocket craters, and topped with sesame seeds). But for our purposes today, we’re especially excited about this Ridgewood restaurant’s meatball parm. Rolo’s aforementioned bread holds together two braised pork meatballs that have been braised in slightly sweet sauce made with Jersey tomatoes, and then blanketed by a layer of melted provolone. Because of the way it’s been heated and smushed, the roll itself adheres to the meatballs and cheese like it’s afraid to say goodbye. Don’t worry about losing a ball or ruining your shirt in the process of eating this sandwich - it’s engineered to perfection.
This pop-up out of Pretty Ricky’s on Rivington and Ludlow serves katsu sandwiches on very fluffy white bread, with shredded red cabbage and carrots, and the perfect amount of nori Kewpie mayo. It reminds us of why we love sandwiches that have so many textures going on - first you get the poofiness of the milk bread that’s miles better than any white bread, then crispiness of the still-juicy chicken, the crunch of the vegetables, and finally the creamy mayo. The creation is quite big, but is one of those sandwiches you just can’t put down.