In this great city of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around New York. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.
When we attempted to ask the older man making sandwiches at the tiny "deli" above Kalustyan's for a sandwich recommendation, he became very emphatic. The only problem was, we couldn't quite decipher what he was saying. In the end, we looked at the vegetarian sandwich menu and picked one that sounded interesting—that day, the Lebneh was calling our names. The older man seemed content with our choice, so we took our sandwich to go and he gave us a grin as we departed.
The sandwich is in a white pita, with generous smears of lebneh slathered on both sides. The white cheese, made by straining yogurt through a cheesecloth for 12 to 24 hours, was creamy and tart, and made more interesting with za'atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend that contains herbs mixed with salt and sesame seeds. Ample amounts of lettuce and tomato lent this sandwich some crunch, which it desperately needed to counteract the yielding texture of pita plus lebneh. Overall, this was a somewhat floppy but still very tasty sandwich. The lebneh is tangy and coats the mouth a bit; the za'atar breaks up the creaminess so the palate doesn't become smothered in cheese. Worth a repeat visit, if only to say hello to our friend behind the counter once more.