Whether it’s pulled pork in
Is there anything as perfect as a great sandwich? Imagine your favorite one, and you’ll know what I mean. Meat, cheese, carbs, and (usually) veggies—all united in a single hand-held unit.
There’s something elemental about a really good sandwich, and maybe even a little bit primitive. It’s one of the few foods that you can grab in your hands and bite. It’s such a sensual act tearing into a great sandwich, one that you’re rarely allowed to indulge in in polite society.
But go ahead, we give you permission. Tie a napkin around your neck and tuck in. Here’s a roundup of
443 Lexington Ave
ite comfort food, can be a little overwhelming for the average mid-week lunch. Imagine a wide submarine loaf—stuffed with slices of marinated and roasted pork, Swiss cheese, ham, and a few pickles—grilled brown and crisp on a plancha (a weighted sandwich press). The result is a huge, hot two-fister that’ll have you plowing through a stack of napkins. FYI: you can also enjoy this big boy sitting at the counter of
Coco Rumba offers a more civilized take on the Cubano, and one that won’t require the sacrifice of your favorite shirt. The Cubano here is positively delicate, more like a panini than the classic Cuban sandwich—although all the flavors are still there, from the succulent roasted pork right down to the tangy, tart pickle. And, instead of rushing through your meal at a busy lunch counter, you can relax in Coco Rumba’s airy, Havana-themed dining room—preferably as you knock back a few Cuba libres. It’ll feel like a tropical breeze in January.
1 N Main St
(914) 524-9687 and
(914) 242-8965; www.lefterisgyro.com
The Lefteris gyro is a wonder of sandwich technology—starting with the meatloaf-on-a-stick that is the spitted gyro. You can peek inside Lefteris’s kitchen and see the massive cylinder of meat, gyrating (hence the name) on its own rotisserie. This seasoned mixture of tender ground beef and lamb is sliced off the spit, then, if the cook determines it so, caramelized briefly on a rocket-hot griddle. The hot slices are piled into a soft, warm pita along with raw onions (bring Altoids), tomatoes, lettuce, and tangy tzatziki sauce. Don’t believe your place mat extolling the virtues of Ancient Greece (Euripides, democracy, etc.)—the Lefteris gyro is
However, there is one problem with Lefteris Gyro: there are too many must-have dishes on the menu. There’s the Greek salad, a huge bowl of lettuce, onions, tomatoes, feta, olives, dolmas, and pickled peppers, liberally doused in an addictive-as-opium dressing. Then there’s the garlicky, creamy hummus with hot, fluffy pitas. There are the gyros, of course. And, you can’t leave without a piece of baklava. The result: a terrible, stomach-holding case of overindulgence, all because you had to have it.
The solution? Visit Lefteris Gyro often, share orders, and take home a doggie-bag.
Epstein’s Kosher Delicatessen and Restaurant
387 N Central Ave
(914) 428-5320; www.epsteinsdeli.com
We all make efforts to eat a healthy diet, but sometimes our souls cry out for deli. Epstein’s is the perfect splurge for the overly healthy eater: it’s a temple to high salt, high fat. and refined flours and sugars. With its authentically nondescript dining room, brusque waitresses, and chipped, half-inch-thick diner plates, you’ll think you’re at Katz’s on the Lower East Side. And, like Katz’s, Epstein’s offers a mind-boggling range of sandwiches, sides, hot platters, and daily specials. Take a few moments to read the menu while munching on garlicky, full- and half-sour pickles. The menu is a meal in itself.
For the full Epstein’s experience, go for the pastrami on rye with mustard. It’s the über deli sandwich: springy, peppery, fatty pastrami steaming between slices of earthy, chewy rye bread. Schmear on some mustard, pair it with a deep-fried knish, and it’s delicatessen at its fatty, salty best. One sandwich at Epstein’s, and you’ll have the strength to face your diet for at least another week.
Q Restaurant and Bar
112 N Main St
The beauty of a pulled-pork sandwich is in its succulence, and Q has it down to a T. Chef/Owner Jeff Kohn (who, with his wife, Jennifer, also own Port Chester’s Kneaded Bread) traveled all over America researching barbecue before finally setting up shop in Port Chester. At Q, the Kohns take pork shoulders and inject them with seasoning, then roll them in a spicy rub before leaving them in their massive smoker for some 14 hours. This low and slow process converts the shoulder’s sinewy tissues into gooey, unctuous collagen—giving the sandwich its trademark lushness. Add crisp, house-made coleslaw and a couple of slices of bread-and-butter pickle, slap it all on a Martin’s Old Fashioned Potato Roll, and basically, you’re in pork heaven.
And you don’t have to suffer for the pleasure, either. Instead of perching at a smoky, flyblown picnic table, you can sit back in Q’s comfy dining room enjoying a glass of fresh-brewed sweet or unsweetened tea (it comes in a take-home Mason jar), house-made pink lemonade, or a bottle of Boylan’s natural soda. For the real down-home experience, though, go for one of Q’s eight tap beers or one of its 12 classic or boutique bourbons.
[THE CABBAGE HILL BLT]
The Flying Pig
215 lexington Ave
(914) 666-7445; www.pigcafe.com
It’s hard to feel good about eating bacon, unless the pork in question has been raised on Jerome and Nancy Kohlbergs’ rolling
“The Pig,” as it’s known, recently took over the space of Cafe Antico, also owned by the Kohlbergs, and showcases all of Cabbage Hill’s products, from its heritage-breed pork and aquaponic trout to greenhouse produce and even flowers. The Pig’s BLT is the ideal version of the lunch-counter classic: intense, smoky bacon layered under peppery Cabbage Hill lettuce and red, ripe tomatoes. And instead of Hellmann’s, a silky dab of basil aïoli. It tastes like you always dreamt a BLT should taste: divine.
[Gravlax on Croissant]
14 Main St
(914) 703-6550, www.chiboust.com
There’s no more elegant sandwich in
And that’s not all. Paper-thin slices of sweet/tart pickled lemon and red onion add sparkle to the sandwich, as do tiny, briny capers. With the peppery crunch of watercress and a lush dollop of crème fraïche, this sandwich can’t be beat.
(914) 683-6111; www.tayste.com
The great thing about Tayste is that you can indulge in the comfort foods of your childhood without the guilt of eating junk. You’ll find no Cheez Wiz on Eric Rosenbaum’s Philly cheesesteak, nor the frozen, denatured beef used on pseudo-Philly steaks. Instead, Tayste’s cheesesteak is made with fresh top round, roasted rare, and shaved into paper-thin slices. The beef is caramelized on the grill alongside aromatic onions, peppers, and mushrooms. When the meat is falling-apart tender and infused with oniony flavor, it’s loaded into a soft hero roll from the Good Bread Bakery in Port Chester under a thick blanket of melted American cheese. One hot, tender, luscious bite and you’ll be hooked. Yet, unlike the traditional
MacMenamin’s Grill & ChefWorks
(914) 632-4900; www.macmenaminsgrill.com
Okay: the dish is hot, and indeed, it does
contain turkey—but that’s where its similarity to the diner standard ends. At MacMenamin’s Grill, the hot open-faced turkey sandwich has been re-styled into a modernist take on the Thanksgiving feast. An inverted, pyramidal baker’s form is lined with thin slices of crustless bread, and the point is filled with sagey turkey-and-vegetable stuffing. Roasted white-meat turkey is layered on top, and the entire contraption is sealed with more bread. After baking, the pyramid is served right side up with cranberry compote and hot turkey gravy. Forget the notion of a sandwich—imagine the dish as a miniature temple to turkey. Yet the dish’s flavors are faithful to its blue-plate special inspiration. Just the sagey aroma arising from the stuffing is a comfort. Pair it with a cool glass of Riesling in MacMenamin’s loft-like converted industrial building, and nothing could be more welcome on a bleak midwinter day.
Blue Hill Café
630 Bedford Rd
, Pocantico Hills
(914) 366-9600, www.bluehillstonebarns.com
The best thing about the Café at Stone Barns is that it offers Blue Hill quality at diner prices. For the price of a mystery-meat hamburger, you can get a delicious sandwich made with boutique local ingredients, on justifiably famous Balthazar bread. Plus, it’s all prepared by the café staff under the sharp eye of Chef Dan Barber.
If one sandwich can say it all at Stone Barns, then it’s the Café’s egg-salad sandwich. Imagine impeccably fresh eggs (laid by the happy bug- and grub-hunting hens of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture), mixed with mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and luxurious crème fraîche, scented with greenhouse chives and parsley, under crunchy Stone Barns greens. One bite is enough to know that Westchester has its own terroir, and that it resides under Stone Barns. Plus, there’s no better welcome after a cold pasture hike than a bowl of hearty lamb stew or a hot Hudson Valley duck panini, enjoyed in Stone Barns’ cozy Hay Barn. And while you wait, you can warm your hands around a steaming cup of Valrhona hot chocolate, made the proper French way—with bar chocolate and local Ronnybrook Farm milk.