The Best New Sandwiches In NYC
photo credit: Nikko Duren
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), we’ve been seeing tons of exciting, new sandwiches in the city - giving you ample opportunity to introduce a new torta, meatball parm, or baked lamb bun to your lunch routine. Here are 9 of our favorite new sandwiches in NYC.
photo credit: Dane Isaac
Tengri Tagh is just about the only restaurant in Midtown right now that fits into the Venn diagram of somewhere that’s new, exciting, and affordable. And a big reason for that is their Uyghur lamb and cumin buns that are stuffed with sauteed peppers, onions, and tingly and slightly spicy cumin lamb. This $6 tightly-packed bun features a squishy, fluffy bun that comes in the same shape as a cushion cut diamond - with which it shares some qualities (beautiful, crafted by people very good at their job) but also deviates in some important ways (will not drain your bank account and is edible). Pair that bun with some of their noodle dishes, like the pearl noodle made up of chunky kernels of chopped noodles and more sauteed peppers, and you’ll have a filling meal for under $20.
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With a blizzard of cayenne and paprika and a twice-fried, flaky exterior, Chick Chick’s Hot Chickwich is the perfect union of Nashville flavor and Korean fried chicken texture. Surprisingly, Chick Chick’s sandwich is more savory than it is fiery. What hooks us, instead, is the balance of all the components. This new UWS spot dredges a juicy thigh and fries it twice, then tops the whole thing with a ton of cayenne and paprika. On the bottom, you’ll find cold butter lettuce, and thick, slightly sweet pickles, all with a cooling white sauce made with mustard, mayo, buttermilk, and black pepper that seeps down the side. The result is crackly and hot.
Whether you’re looking for some crunchy comfort food to bring to a Central Park picnic or a solo Pose marathon on your couch, order yourself a katsu sando from Curry Mania. This counter-service Japanese curry shop operates inside of a ramen restaurant right across the street from the 72nd Street train stop on the UWS. We often wake up in the middle of the night thinking about their croquette sando - with carb-heavy deep-fried potato and creamy coleslaw on toasted milk bread. But we also love their pork tenderloin sando, which has a perfect balance of crunchy and squishy elements. No matter where you choose to eat, each sando order comes with four thick halves and a small tub of coleslaw on the side, leaving you with enough food for at least two fantastic meals.
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The bánh mì at this Upper West Side restaurant is a top contender for the best one in the city. It’s filled with grilled pork belly that has just the right amount of char and sweet glaze balance, not to mention all the usual suspects (thinly sliced carrots and daikon, jalapeños, and parsley with the stems on). Add in a swipe of mayo, some scallion oil, and hoisin and you’ll experience a sauce collage that is more visually appealing and delicious than our middle school art project. Bánh’s titular sandwich is one that reminds us why the bánh mì is one of the best sandwiches out there.
The Best Bánh Mì In NYC
Mel Bakery is permanently closed
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.
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.
Editor’s Note: Evil Katsu is not currently operating their pop-up but is opening their first brick-and-mortar location in the East Village on July 17th. Follow their Instagram to stay updated.
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.