Recently, I showed up at Mangia for lunch with one thing in mind: a sandwich on their pizza bianca. I mean, why wouldn't you want that given the option? (As you may know, we're big pizza bianca evangelists.) But 1:45 was too late, and they told me they were out. Distraught, directionless, I scanned the menu frantically, all too aware of the impatient man behind the counter. I went with the herb roasted grilled breast of chicken ($7.95), served with watercress, tomatoes, and herbed mustard on Tuscan flatbread. That sounded like a good enough back-up.
When I was handed my sandwich, I was disappointed to see it looked like little more than a paltry grocery store wrap. First no pizza bianca, now this! I walked across Midtown dejectedly. But, for all my disappointment, the sandwich was a pleasant surprise. The chicken, while slightly dry, was nicely flavored and had a distinct taste of the grill. The tomatoes were incredibly ripe and sweet—no pale, pink specimens here—and added a bright acidity to every bite. The watercress was a nice, crunchy counterpart. But the Tuscan flatbread, which I'd so quickly dismissed as bland wrap fare, was the real star. Pliant and fresh, it had a lovely char from the grill and a wonderful flavor. I could have used more of the mustard (a great grainy blend), but all in all, it was a pleasant surprise of a sandwich.