Sandwiches For Lunch, Downtown New York City

14. June 2010 American, East Village, SoHo 0

I had one day off between the old job and the next, so I planned a sandwich tour to make up for all those missed New York City lunches while I was in Connecticut. Three sandwich shops were recommended to me by my friend Josh; I needed his help because I’ve been out of the food scene for what I felt was too long. He told me to pick one and enjoy, but true to Cia-style, I went to all three and enlisted my friend Dex to help me put everything down.

Each sandwich shop occupied a sliver of a space, with Torrissi a tad more spacious to accommodate more than three tables. They all had short, straightforward menus, good unpretentious vibes and pretty damn good sandwiches. I give them all ♥ ♥

142 Sullivan Street between Prince and Houston

We ordered the jerk chicken sandwich, the most promising item on their menu. The fish tacos sounded good as well, but they didn’t have them the day we stopped by. The jerk chicken was on the salty side but it was full of flavor and they didn’t skimp on the chicken. A bowl of rice with it would have made me a very happy person, but I’ll take that fresh, crusty bread for lunch just fine.

Local Café
144 Sullivan Street between Prince and Houston

Next door at Local, we opted for the panini with fresh mozarella from Joe’s Dairy. You can’t go any more local than that: Joe’s Dairy has been a fixture of Sullivan Street for so many years even before SoHo exploded into the shopping mecca of downtown New York City. The contrast between the warm, toasty bread against the soft, giving cheese was incredible. The caprese combination is nothing new, but simplicity done well makes a good impression.

Torrisi Italian Specialties
250 Mulberry Street off Prince Street

We walked off the two sandwiches and headed east to Torrisi. Of all the shops we visited, Torrisi is the type of shop I dream of opening in my next life, complete with hanging sausages and aged meats. We kept a low profile and opted for three of their Italian antipasti: fried cauliflower, roasted rabe and roasted bell peppers.

Perhaps it was the time of day, but Torrisi was more bustling than the previous two and we had to wait fifteen minutes before we could eat. It got even busier when the clock hit 2pm and the line wrapped in front of the counter and out the door. I’ll definitely be back again for their sandwiches when I can spend more leisure time to wait.

And during my first week at the new job, I tried the following to add to this set of reviews:

Num Pang Sandwich Shop
21 East 12th Street off University Avenue

I couldn’t wait to taste Num Pang’s pulled pork sandwich after my other friend Caroline told me she thought about it days after she first tasted it. After a late night out, I stopped by to order one duroc pork sandwich with honey and added the ginger barbecued brisket to compare it with. Both smelled delicious and were very filling, but were essentially Cambodian stews in a sandwich. I could have easily eaten the filling with a bowl of white rice. It was humid outside and the sandwiches brought me back to those warm Southeast Asian nights.

Luke’s Lobster
93 East 7th Street off First Avenue

I waited in line for about ten minutes before I was able to order my lobster roll. I waited another fifteen before I actually got my order to-go. Such is the price you have to pay when you join the queue at the sandwich shop du jour and you’re competing with other customers who are also changing their status on Facebook, checking in on Four Square, reviewing on Yelp and, well, spooning on UrbanSpoon.

Luke’s lobster roll, albeit smaller than the rest of the east coast’s, was worth it because I can’t just walk around New York City and get a fresh and trustworthy lobster roll. Was it better than the other rolls I’ve had in Amagansett or Narragansett? It was comparable, but I’ll take it when the craving to spend $14 on a sandwich hits me.