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Sandwich Of The Week

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‘Esquire’ Sandwich Survey Is Spot-on

Ever since that glorious, immortal, probably imaginary day when the Earl of Sandwich, unwilling to leave his gaming table, directed a manservant to put meat between two slices of bread, the art of sandwich-making has flourished. Esquire’s “Best Sandwiches in America” offers a deluxe overview of America’s best, and we have to say, it’s about the most judicious such survey we've seen. The sandwiches chosen for the cities we know well, like the pork-and-provolone number at John’s Roast Pork in Philadelphia, or the Monte Cristo at Canter’s in L.A., are exactly the ones we would have picked, and the ones from cities we’ve never visited, like the Reggie Deluxe in Pine State Biscuits in Portland, Oregon (“fried chicken, bacon, cheddar, gravy, and an over-easy egg on a cream-top buttermilk biscuit still hot from the outdoor oven”), make us want to travel more.

Sandwich of the Week: The Pavarotti at Alidoro

When an international celebrity of Luciano Pavarotti’s magnitude dies, it’s only to be expected that there will soon follow a flood of posthumous recordings. But what to make of the posthumous hoagie? That was the question on the Underground Gourmet’s mind after the Golden Tenor had taken his final bow, and Walter Momente, the owner of the Soho sandwich shop Alidoro, had decided that a fitting tribute to the opera superstar would be to meticulously layer salami, smoked mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, and sweet peppers into a titanic semolina loaf and call it the Pavarotti. “We had to do something for him,” says Italian-born Momente. “Besides, I am a huge soccer fan, and before he became a singer, Pavarotti was a very good professional soccer player.”

Tuscan Square’s Meatball Maven Gets His Say — and Sandwich of the Week

If you saw Page Six last Thursday, you know that there may be a vast meatball conspiracy upon us. A quick recap of the item: Restaurateur Pino Luongo yields to no one in his devotion to the study and the making of meatballs, and along with Coco Pazzo chef Mark Strausman, he is feverishly scribbling a manuscript entitled Two Meatballs in the Italian Kitchen. Yet Luongo was ignominiously left out of an article by the Lee brothers in the Times’s Dining Section entitled “The Expanding Meatball Universe,” which traced the not-so-recent popularity of the things to the giant beef-veal-and-pork orbs made by Ápizz chef-owner John LaFemina (author of A Man and His Meatballs). Luongo smelled a rotten polpetta.

Taco Mix’s Torta Cubana May Be Overstuffed, But It’s Also Sandwich of the Week

A good sandwich is a balanced sandwich. This, as any faithful reader of the Underground Gourmet's sandwich dispatches can tell you, goes without saying. Good sandwich-making requires not only skill but also a delicate touch. Frantically stuffing a sandwich the way cartoon bank robbers cram bills into sacks emblazoned with $$$ symbols is considered bad form among the sandwich elite, and emblematic of what is wrong, culinarily and nutritionally, with our Supersize Nation. As Mario Batali once explained to the UG in between dainty bites of a toasted panino, “The American tendency is to obfuscate the perfect simplicity of the sandwich by putting too much crap in it.” Despite prevailing carbophobic biases and the legacy of a certain diet doctor, Batali asserted, “The bread is the main event. There shouldn't be more stuff inside than outside.”

Sandwich of the Week: The No Mayo Tuna Sandwich at Henri Bendel of All Places

Eating for a living takes the Underground Gourmet to all sorts of strange and mysterious places — the Upper West Side, for instance — but none more sinisterly exotic than the typical department-store café. As anyone who’s ever lunched on frozen yogurt and cantaloupe at Bloomingdale’s Forty Carrots or nibbled miniature quiche at the American Girl Cafe can attest, these shopaholic fuel stations are not the manliest places to tie on the noonday feedbag. So how the UG found himself ensconced at a petite table at Henri Bendel’s new third-floor Chocolate Bar the other day, God and Ms. UG only know.

The Underground Gourmet Taps Pig’s Ass As Sandwich of the Week

Three words the Underground Gourmet never imagined he’d hear bandied about in a nice, respectable restaurant: Pig’s Ass Sandwich. And yet, there he was the other night at the brand-new Casellula Cheese & Wine Café surrounded by otherwise upstanding citizens speaking to their waiters in low, excited voices and putting in their orders thusly: “I’d like the Pig’s Ass Sandwich, please.”

Sandwich of the Week: Lassi’s Tamarind-Pork Sandwich

When the Underground Gourmet ponders flashes of fusion brilliance in the sandwich realm, he thinks of Zak Pelaccio’s interpretive Cubano at 5 Ninth, made with prosciutto and Boerenkass; the Greenpoint sandwich, a.k.a., the Polish bánh mì, at Williamsburg’s Silent H; and Sullivan St. Bakery’s deranged but delicious PBM (pancetta, basil, and mango). Add to this illustrious list the tamarind-pork sandwich at Lassi.

Sandwich of the Week: Sullivan St. Bakery’s Brilliant ‘Anti-Bread’ Sandwich

One of the greatest gifts to the sandwich world, the Underground Gourmet has always said, is Sullivan St. Bakery’s ciabatta. With its smallish size, not-too-dense crumb, and sturdy crust, it has, over the past decade or so, become the bread of choice for discriminating sandwich chewers all over town, and, consequently, as brazenly knocked off as a Gucci handbag.

Filet-O-Fish Sandwich Now Twice as Delicious

There are many delicious things with which you could embellish a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwich — if your goal was to make it even more calamitous to the waistlines of the general Filet-O-Fish-loving public than it already is. A Scotch egg, a pound of bacon, or a deep-fried Snickers bar all spring to mind. But if you really wanted to go all out, if you really wanted to vex the fast-food police, what you might do is simply plop an additional Filet-O-Fish on top of the first one.

Haute Barnyard Take on a Classic SoCal Sandwich

Almost as much as he loves discovering and devouring worthy sandwiches, the Underground Gourmet also loves to brush up on his sandwich lore and then regale Ms. UG with his fascinating findings — which is precisely what he did after a recent excursion to Park Slope’s Flatbush Farm, where he tucked into a delicious French-dip sandwich. As you may or may not know (Ms. UG did not), the illustrious French dip, like so much of America’s storied sandwicherie, has a slightly murky history. Two restaurants, both founded in 1908 and both located in downtown Los Angeles, lay claim to it. The owners of Philippe the Original say that the French dip was born when founder Philippe Mathieu, while making a sandwich for a policeman one day in 1918, accidentally dropped a long French-style roll into some meaty pan juices. The copper — whose name may or may not have been Officer French — liked it so much he came back the next day for an encore performance. Had Philippe possessed better reflexes or the cop fussier standards, the world might be, to this day, bereft of French dips.

It’s Alive! The Tasting Room’s Kimchee-and-Cheese Sandwich

When Slow Food practitioner Colin Alevras, the chef-owner of the Tasting Room and as familiar a Greenmarket presence as corn in August, sets out to make a cheese sandwich for his new Tasting Room Wine Bar & Café, you don’t expect him to slap together some Kraft singles between two slices of Pepperidge Farm whole wheat and call it a day. No, what you expect is great, local ingredients, cleverly combined. What you expect is what our colleague, Adam Platt, would undoubtedly call a sandwich conceived and crafted in the Haute Barnyard style.

Sneaking Past Security for the Sandwich of the Week

Chick-fil-A, the Atlanta-based purveyor of chicken-breast sandwiches, is the second largest chicken-centric fast-food operation in the country, and yet there is only one branch in New York — and it doesn’t even really count. Opened three years ago to little foodie fanfare, the local outpost is ensconced between Quizno’s and JW’s Grille in the food court of NYU’s Joe Weinstein Center (5-11 University Pl., nr. 8th St.), and as such it’s been a well-kept undergrad secret.

Centovini’s Porchetta Sandwich Makes Us Think of Hall & Oates

Ever since Philadelphia-based Tony Luke’s set up a Hell’s Kitchen outpost, the Underground Gourmet, in spite of Ms. UG’s protests, has looked for any excuse to find himself in the dismal vicinity of Ninth Avenue and 41st Street. The reason? Tony Luke’s syntactically challenged signature sandwich, the Roast Pork Italian. What distinguishes this substantial specimen from other hoagies is the ingenious addition of bitter broccoli rabe to the combination of juicy pork and sharp provolone.