Forget Openings. Forget Openings. Forget reviews. Forget the Short List (more or less). The summer and its indolent desolation is over at last. The restaurant world prepares for its yearly rebirth, and its nocturnal flower is set to blossom. Fall Preview is here. And any New Yorker not currently in an intensive care unit should hasten to read every word.
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.
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.
You may remember that not so long ago our friend the Gobbler presented his case against the Michelin guide. Among his objections: “Lofty opinions are fine, but what New Yorkers really want in a restaurant guide is facility and ease of use. In other words, they want the goddamn address and phone number right now.” Ken Shepps knows the feeling. His new green guidebook not only includes the goddamn address and phone number but also comes in the form of an accordion-style map. One side shows the island from Battery Park to 121st Street, plotted with subway stops and 117 numbered squares. Each number corresponds to a restaurant listing in one of eight fold-out panels. (No. 51 on the map, for instance, goes with Balthazar, a “superlative brasserie and next door patisserie.”) On the other side, there are mini-maps with neighborhood descriptions and specialty stores, like Lady M Cake Boutique on the Upper East Side and Sullivan St. Bakery in Soho. Is this the perfect portable NYC restaurant guide? Well, you’ll definitely look like tourist if you consult it in public, and we’ve got our own opinions on where to eat. But this is definitely a step in the right direction. — Lori FradkinMappetite [Official site]
Introducing the Underground Gourmet's Sandwich of the Week, a special contribution to Grub Street.
Nothing rankles peevish sandwich purists more than the compulsion among today's freewheeling chefs to improve upon a classic by substituting brazenly nontraditional upmarket ingredients for the tried and true (witness the Wagyu cheesesteak). Said purists, though, should swallow their indignation along with the spectacular "Three-Terrine Sandwich" that recently debuted on the late-night menu at Momofuku Ssäm Bar. The toothsome concoction is crafted from shards of succulent ham, chicken pâté, and a particularly heady veal-head cheese, all made in house and topped with pickled cucumbers, carrot, daikon, Kewpie mayo, and hot sauce. A gourmet bánh mì, for sure, but a bánh mì just the same, even if co-chef Tien Ho, its humble creator, abstained from using the name since he serves it on a Sullivan Street Bakery ciabatta instead of the traditional rice-flour-enhanced baguette. If only all sandwich maestros were such sticklers.
— Rob Patronite & Robin Raisfeld