You’re in midtown. God knows why but you are. Need some lunch, something not as pricey as the elite haunts of publishing magnates and talent agents? Maybe you want it to go, maybe you’d like to dine in but sans time intensive service and let’s face it – maybe you want the lunch of yesteryear, of childhood comfort, just a tastier better bread version of it. You want a…shhh…sandwich.
City Sandwich has been a mini mecca for almost two years. Sandwiches by way of Naples and Lisbon with a NYC edge. A culinary pedigree if there ever was. Luckily the lineage includes interesting fresh salads and soups as well. And if you think lunch is the thing, nuh uh – wake up and smell the bacon! The breakfast sandwiches deliciously relieve post slumber despair.
Part of the wall art is the menu and it’s divided by sandwich/salad name as well as by color. Red is meat, yellow is egg and green is vegetable/fish. It’s like a color war flag for Team Italy and Team Portugal it seems.
The atmosphere is a cozy brick-walled art filled spot, with no table service but a cheery staff and food is packed to go whether you dine at one of the six or so tables or not.
Chewy, flaky, crispy bread made for them in Newark, our domestic version of Portugal. White flour be damned, the bread is the perfect foil for all manner of fillings. Olive oil keeps that dense interior beautifully moist. The chef prides himself on no butter and no mayo, preferring instead a yogurt based herb infused dressing. Nice.
I had the ‘Auntie”, (all of the salads and sandwiches are named for those near and dear to the chef/owner). Homemade Portuguese pickled sardines with sauteed onions, tomato and cilantro in olive oil. A very cooling, briny, fabulous mediterranean choice for a sticky summer’s day.
But the entire role call is first rate. The “Pavia” is a wonderful combination of egg whites with melted brie, spinach, sauteed onions and tomatoes and then there’s the ‘Dave” with sausage, broccoli rabe, tomato, peperoncino, melted mozzarella, garlic and oil. Yum. It goes on. Twisted, intriguing, carefully considered combinations that fit brilliantly into their lovingly named crusty homes.
My friend had the delicately flavored simple salad of fresh mozzarella, tomato & onions in a basil pesto yogurt.
We both started with the chilled spicy cucumber and chickpea soup. Refreshing but a bit bland and not the zingy thick puree I had imagined. More like chickpea gazpacho.
An energizing house made lemonade rounded out a delightful and easy lunch.
In a town filled with crazy cool breads and killer fillers – the era of Sandwiches 2.0, City Sandwich doesn’t disappoint with its revitalized retro lunch. It’s kind of a calling card to a euro-newyawk crusty delight.
Wear the T-Shirt, eat the sandwich.
649 Ninth Avenue between 45/46th Street
* Header photo by Angela Carbonetti / http://www.angelacarbonetti.com