Fanelli Cafe is one of those New York City gems still standing from a time when horse and buggies were bringing people there to drink. The space has been there since the mid nineteenth century, and they proudly hang their salon licenses in the back, mementos from an era long before Soho filled with European models and Midwestern tourists.
The menu at Fanelli's is essentially bar food, but it's quality stuff. You won't find frozen death disc hamburgers in this kitchen. The standouts are the chicken club sandwich, the steak sandwich, and the burger.
Don't expect the staff to be friendly, or for that matter, to give a damn that you have been waiting for your check for twenty minutes. Embrace the atmosphere, drink a Stella from the tap, and imagine that you're about to head off for a sweet vacation aboard the Titanic.
Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich
This is one of my favorite sandwiches in the entire city. Triple stacked with bacon, smoked Gouda, and tarragon mayonnaise on soft seven grain bread. It's big, amazing, and not a terrible option to split with someone if you're more concerned with boozing it up.
Steak thinly sliced with onions, peppers, and cheddar cheese. I tend to try and switch it up and order this so I don't always get the chicken club, and then I feel bad, like I cheated on a sandwich.
Beef Burger with Pepper Jack Cheese
A respectable burger, the pepper jack takes it up a few notches, so I recommend going in that direction. Good, but not what I come back for.
Maryland Crab Cake Sandwich
This is actually a serviceable crab cake sandwich. I've had my fair share of crab cakes from the Chesapeake, and I wasn't mad at this one.