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.
Pancetta has a tendency to make most things better. The cured meat, essentially unsmoked Italian bacon, does wonderful things to sauces, vegetables, pizzas, and of course sandwiches, as is the case with the Alla Pancetta ($8) at San Matteo.
Thinly sliced pancetta, done on a deli slicer to order, coats the top half of the bread. The bottom half holds the veg and cheese, in this case marinated artichokes and provolone. The provolone just barely melts in the salamander and provides a soft, not too salty complement to the assertive pancetta. Artichokes are generally a nice addition to sandwiches and salads, and they're a solid, if not particularly bold, addition to this panino.
While perhaps not an excellent sandwich, it succeeds in a way many pizzas do—a combination of meat, cheese and well-made dough can't be that bad. And for the size and quality of the meat, the price tag is something of a steal. The Upper East Side is hurting for good, reasonably priced lunches, so this one earns a few extra points.