New York City's 12 Must-Try Sandwiches

From smoked meat sandwiches to fried chicken, here are 12 essential combos
November 1, 2017
by Zagat Staff

New York City is stacked with some pretty serious sandwich options - from the ultimate pastrami to the million-and-one superb takes on the classic New England lobster roll. But today we are recounting the absolute must-try sandwiches in the Big Apple. From out-of-the-box vegetarian sandwiches to an expertly done fried chicken sandwich, check out the slide show to salivate over all 12 superlative creations.

Turkey club at Court Street Grocers

Trying to pick just one item to feature from this Carroll Gardens sandwich expert was a task in itself. From the roasted pork shoulder with cheese (Macho Man or Woman) to the classic Reuben, choosing the must-try of the pack was a tough call. But the combo that received the most nods from sandwich lovers was the turkey club. This triple-decker club is made with confit dark-meat turkey, roast white meat, bacon, Bibb lettuce and mayo and is served on a potato roll. Epic.

Price: $13.06

Insider tip: Don't live near Carroll Gardens? You can also sandwiches (though not this exact one) at locations in Greenwich Village and Red Hook.

The details: 485 Court St., Brooklyn, 718-722-7229; 50 Laguardia Pl., 212-777-9292; 116 Sullivan St., Brooklyn, 347-529-6803

Spicy fried chicken sandwich at Fuku

David Chang's Fuku opened in the East Village after the Momofuku team hinted at this fried chicken masterpiece for some time. It's now nearly ubiquitous: there are three locations and the lightly spiced chicken thigh sandwiched in a Martin's potato bun can also be procured at both Madison Square Garden and Citi Field. It's both crispy and moist; exactly what you want in a piece of fried chicken.

Price: $8

Insider tip: If fried chicken (and pickle butter, yes it's served with a light smear of it) is enough of an indulgence for you, skip the bun and get the Fuku Fingers, which are exactly what they sound like. 

The details: Multiple locations.

Roasted cauliflower at Num Pang

A vegetarian sandwich that won't have you missing the meat, this veggie take on a Cambodian street sandwich (num pang is the Cambodian equivalent of a Vietnamese banh mi) is stuffed with roasted cauliflower and Chinese and Thai eggplant spread infused with chile-soy flavor. Like all the other sandwiches at the popular chainlet, it's topped with cucumber, pickled carrots and cilantro on freshly baked bread. Perfection.

Price: $8.25

Insider tip: Num Pang now has five locations in NYC, with a sixth in Times Square opening soon.

The details: Multiple locations.  

The Scuttlebutt at Saltie

Considered by many eaters and critics to be one of the best if not the best sandwich in all of New York City, the Scuttlebutt is chef Carolina Fidanza's love letter to good bread and salt; most of the ingredients are cured or pickled. Oh, and it's vegetarian. Here's the scoop: housemade focaccia is sliced and stuffed full of feta, hard-boiled egg, capers, black olives, pickles and a healthy dose of pimenton pepper aioli. 

Price: $12

Insider tip: Check Saltie's Instagram for daily specials (though we always go with the classic Scuttlebutt).

The details: 378 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn; 718-387-4777

The Number One at Frankel's  

This appetizing shop and deli that operates out of a tiny storefront on a busy corner at the border of Williamsburg and Greenpoint was opened by the brothers Zach and Alex Frankel just last year, and already they have a smoked fish sandwich that beats out stunning competition (Russ & Daughters, take note). What you get: a generous portion of pastrami-smoked salmon served on any kind of bagel with scallion cream cheese and a heap of dill pickle salad. 

Price: $12.86

Insider tip: This is the most popular sandwich on the menu and chef Ashley Berman credits that to the "great match" of quick pickled cucumbers and the "smoky spiced" Pastrami salmon. 

The details: 631 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn; 718-389-2302

Chicken sandwich at NoMad

There's been a lot of buzz about Daniel Humm's black truffle- and foie gras-stuffed chicken at NoMad restaurant, which will set you back $89 during dinner time. During brunch, you can try the sandwich version of the dish served on brioche for a still-steep price, a relative bargain considering the black truffles and foie gras that tops it. 

Price: $28

Insider tip: Brunch is served from 11 AM-2:30 PM on Saturday and Sunday.

The details: 1170 Broadway; 347-472-5660

The roast turkey from High Street on Hudson  

Yes, this is the second turkey sandwich on this list, but it's vastly different from Court Street Grocers' more classic take. At Philly transplant High Street on Hudson, thinly sliced turkey is tossed with two condiments (mayo and green goddess dressing) and stacked with lettuce and smattering of herbs. Served on a freshly baked poppy seed kaiser roll, it's a light and fresh take on a deli classic.

Price: $14

Insider tip: Co-owner Ellen Yin says the green goddess dressing "makes the sandwich."

The details: 637 Hudson St., 718-701-8909

Pork pate and bacon at Ends Meat 

Out in Sunset Park, Ends Meat butchers whole animals and makes sandwiches at Industry City. All the sandwiches here are inspired — the pulled pork comes with pickled green beans, for example — but we're partial to the pork pate and bacon because well, duh. Mortadella, kimchi, red onion mayo and cilantro round out this already ridiculously meaty and porky sandwich with a hint of acid and herb.

Price: $12

Insider tip: The pork used is from whole Berkshire pigs that are brought in and broken down each week. Fresh. 

The details: 254 36th St., Brooklyn; 718-801-8895 

Smoked meat sandwich at Mile End

New Yorkers love their pastrami and corned beef, but Mile End Deli introduced locals to a Canadian wrinkle on the Jewish deli classics - Montreal smoked meat, which is a kind of pastrami-corned beef hybrid. The brisket is dry cured with a heavy dose of spices, then smoked low and slow, steamed and then served thickly cut on slices of mustard-slathered Orwasher's rye. It's an imported deli ritual that's as good as our hometown specialties.

Price: $15

Insider tip: The lines at the tiny Brooklyn location are notoriously long; instead of waiting for a table, get the sandwich to-go and pair it with a beer at the nearby Brooklyn Inn.

The details: 97A Hoyt St., Brooklyn, 718-852-7510; 53 Bond St., 212-529-2990

Broccoli classic at No. 7 Sub

Another veggie sandwich makes our list from sandwich savants No. 7 Sub. Their broccoli sub is topped with lychee muchim (a Korean salad), ricotta salata and fried shallots, which takes the humble veggie to a whole new level. 

Price: $12.25

Insider tip: Looking for another veggie option? This spot also recently began making oh-so-trendy grain bowls.

The details: 1188 Broadway, 212-532-1680; 1 W. 59th St., 646-755-3228

Three-cheese breakfast sandwich at The Breslin

April Bloomfield's cozy Ace Hotel mainstay does a killer take on a grilled cheese. Their oven-baked three-cheese sandwich is great on its own but you can also order it with the incredible house-smoked ham for an additional $2.  

Price: $19 with ham or egg, $17 without

The details: 16 W. 29th St.; 212-679-1939

Anything with fried eggplant at Defonte's  

Open for nearly 100 years, this classic Italian sandwich shop in Red Hook never disappoints. You can choose from an entire menu of classic sandwich combinations served on perfect Italian bread, but we are partial to anything with eggplant as it's fried to perfection here: thin and crispy. Try the hot roast beef with eggplant, mozzarella and jus or the Valentino Special, with provolone and roasted peppers. Or just make it all your own and choose what you like.  

Price: $9.50-10.50

Insider tip: When lunch is in full swing it can get busy, so try and arrive before the rush, say 11:30 AM.

The details: 379 Columbia St., Brooklyn; 718-625-8052