When it comes to eating out at kosher restaurants I tend to stick to the holy trinity: deli, falafel and shwarma. Sure I’ve tried kosher Chinese, but once was enough. Kosher interpretations of other cuisines usually don’t translate very well. Nevertheless, when I saw Sandwich Bar’s menu of international schnitzels, I had to find out what it was all about. I know what you’re thinking, depending who you ask schnitzel has only two nationalities: Austrian or Israeli. The owners of this tiny spot in Kew Garden Hills take a more global approach to fried chicken cutlets. The menu boasts seven varieties, including Polish and Greek.
A closer look at the menu made me wonder what I was in for. The Polish variety was simply described as “double layered bread crumbs,” nothing terribly Polish sounding about that. The Greek has fresh garlic added to the bread crumbs, probably tasty, but not especially Hellenic. I opted for the Chinese, which had sesame mixed in with the breading. Again, not the most Chinese-sounding description in the world, but hope springs eternal in the stomach of this eater. I also liked the idea of Chinese, given how much time I spend in Flushing’s Chinatown which lies several miles north of Kew Gardens Hills.
Each of Sandwich Bar’s schnitzels comes with a choice of toppings and sauces. The only thing vaguely Chinese about the dressings I chose were hot peppers and hot sauce. I also got fried onions and a schmear of hummus. The whole thing was stuffed into a baguette and then placed in a sandwich press. I was fully prepared to hate it, but it actually turned out to be quite good. The hot juicy chicken cutlet melted the hummus, turning it into a sauce that when mixed with the sesame seeds tasted rather like tahini. Chinese shminese, this fried chicken hoagie was more Middle Eastern. And certainly no less strange or less tasty than the beer-flavored ice cream that I had for dessert at the nearby Max & Mina’s.
71-34 Main Street, Kew Gardens Hills NY (map)