Look, anyone who knows me knows that I’m all about the fancy; give me an escargot clamp, an amuse bouche, and lots and lots of different wine glasses. I love the rituals of the table, from thick napery to plush seating, but I confess: I’ve got a total jones for big, greasy sandwiches.
Maybe it’s because massive sandwiches are microcosmic meals. Handheld and nutritionally complete—in each bite, protein, veg, and carb meet in perfect union—a great sandwich is a sort of trick; an entire roasted dinner is served up in a single unit. Plus, to be honest, eating a sandwich also offers one of the few occasions in which I can grab my food in both hands and tear into it like a caveman. It’s a primal, sensual pleasure for foodies, as valid as sipping the finest glass of wine.
We heard raves about Melt Sandwich Shop (which opened this summer) from our colleague, John Bruno Turiano, who lives in White Plains. Despite its name, Bill Hall and Kristin Mulrane’s trendy Melt is more than a panini shop—though several of the sandwiches are pressed with optional cheese. Melt offers salads, grilled pizzette, and house-made flatbreads. Best of all, Melt brines, smokes, and roasts its own meats, which make for sprightly, very individual-tasting sandwiches. Look for pulled pork (dripping with a luxurious—if historically inaccurate—layer of cheese), porchetta, and citrus-spiked Cuban roast pork sandwiches spiked with yellow mustard and the briny punch of pickles.
The ordering process is simple. Pick your type of bread—circular roll, long wedge, or flat ciabatta—then choose your protein and toppings (or just order a pre-designed sandwich) from a long menu of options. We went for the pastrami because, well, it’s salty, peppery, briny, and fatty—and who doesn’t love that? (Speaking of joneses, I once took my life into my hands to cross Queens Boulevard on foot to visit mythic Pastrami King, but that’s another story.) While not of Pastrami King’s epic, steam-table perfection, Melt’s pastrami arrived just as we’d hoped—hot and well-spiced, under a very Reuben-like conglomeration of molten Swiss. A Cubano was equally warm and sexily gooey, with fatty ham and roasted pork tartly punctuated by crunchy pickles and mustard.
Given all the gobs of extra cheese going on at Melt, it’s a good thing that I live closer to a greenmarket than this sandwich shop—I could see Melt’s sandwiches graduating from Sometimes Food to Everyday Food with very little provocation. Apparently, that switch already happened to hundreds of Melt’s loyal fans, which daily form swiftly processed lines that snake out the door of this clean little shop. Melt is mostly take-away and strictly breakfast and lunch for now—though it offers a few tables inside, and a few more outside—and, if all that cheese is problematic, Melt always offers salads.
Melt Sandwich Shop
277 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains
Open weekdays 7 am to 6 pm; Sat 8 am to 3 pm