The Braised Braciole at Rubirosa
They stuff a few fat rolls of tender beef into a soft, toasted roll of buttery garlic bread, smothering the whole thing in their awesome signature tomato sauce and large flecks of real, honest-to-goodness aged Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Lengua Cemita from El Tenampa
This hefty sandwich is packed with chunks of beef tongue—meltingly tender with crispy bits around the edges—layered with ripe avocado slices, crema, crisp red onion, chopped iceberg lettuce, black bean mash, and white cheese.
El Tenampa: 706 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11232 (map); 718-369-7508
Open Face Beef Cheek Sandwich at Perla
There are two fistfulls of fall-apart how-are-you-so-tender braised beef cheek, with a brown sauce packed to bursting with meaty brawn and caramelized flavor, all of which is on a slice of crusty bread that soaks up every stray dribble of sauce. It comes with two perfectly fried eggs, because put an egg on it would feel...sane?
'Cheesesteak' at Woodwork
Slow Roasted Short Rib Panini
Holy hunk of beef, how the hell is one meant to eat this sandwich? A beast of a panino, the inch-think slab of slow-roasted short rib is insanely rich; the copious amount of melted gorgonzola only boosts it.
The Pastrami at Katz's Deli
Whether you get it plain on rye or as a Reuben (pictured), you'll be eating the pinnacle of cured beefy deliciousness. You can't talk about beef sandwiches in this city without talking about Katz's superlatively tender, smoky, and spicy pastrami with gorgeous fat.
Cheesesteak at Kwik Meal
The steak is cooked in that deliciously greasy way, in with the peppers and onions and bound together by totally melted cheese. The pita gets thrown on top so that it, too, is warm, and there's so much stuffed inside that the meat, cheese, and peppers are really what you taste. It's as far from a classic cheesesteak as you can get, but it's still a very recommendable lunch.
Kwik Meal: Southwest corner of 6th Avenue and 45th Street, New York NY (map)
Pastrami from Loeser's
The flavors of the pastrami sandwich are appropriately simple and clear. Rather than being smeared on indelicately and thus overpowering the flavor of the moist and plentiful slices of pastrami, as is often the case, there's just the right amount of sharp mustard to compliment the meat's flavor.
Loeser's Kosher Deli: 214 West 231st Street, Bronx NY 10463 (map); 718-601-6665
Homemade Roast Beef at Stage Restaurant
Homemade roast beef, sliced thinly onto a kaiser roll and served with your choice of mayo or mustard, may at first seem a bit small in size and spartan for its price tag ($8.20). But there's over an inch and a half of flavorful and moist roast beef in there, and it's plenty satisfying.
Stage Restaurant: 128 2nd Ave, New York NY 10003 (map); 212-473-8614
Tuesday Night Patty Melt at Parm
The new Tuesday night special at Parm isn't a traditional patty melt in the least, but the perfect medium rare beef has great aged funk, the bread is well toasted, and the caramelized onions and mushrooms give a great sweet jolt of flavor. The sandwich comes with salt-boiled potatoes that smashed and fried into crisp bites of utter deliciousness.
Meatball at Parm
Shaped into a large patty to go on a hero or roll, it's beef meats veal meats pork sausage for one of the best meatballs in the city, bar none. The meatball is fall-apart tender, the red sauce it's braised in bright, sweet, and sharp all at once. We never get tired of this cheffy-but-not-too cheffy meatball.
Pastrami on Rye at David's Brisket House
David's serves some of the best pastrami in Brooklyn. The meat—full-flavored, fall-apart tender, and resoundingly rich—goes toe to toe with any of its Manhattan counterparts. And at $6 for a hefty "small" on fluffy slices of rye, it's a lot easier for serious pastrami fans to stomach.
David's Brisket House: 533 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11216 (map); 718-789-1155
Burnt Ends at John Brown Smokehouse
The slab of brisket deckel gets a double dose of its dry rub, composed of salt, black pepper, brown sugar, paprika, and allspice, among other ingredients. Then, they stoke the smoker to give the meat a few extra hours (15 hours total) and dice the finished product onto thick slices of plain white bread.
John Brown Smokehouse: 10-43 44th Drive, Long Island City, NY 11101(map); 347-617-1120
Reuben Sandwich at Bowery Diner
The pastrami, given an 11-hour, in-house smoke, is faling-apart tender, and while the kitchen will be baking some of its own bread, the rye bread here is brought from an outside vendor to pay homage to New York's older bakeries.
Meatball Parmagiana from Parisi Bakery
If you're looking for a meatball parm that's as Sunday Gravy classic as can be, with rich, bright sauce that highlights the slight sweetness of beef, this baby is the one for you. It helps that the bread comes right from the bakery; it's crusty and soft in just the right way to absorb some of the sauce and cradle the meatballs.
This Way and That Way This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef
Pulling from two different roast beef sandwich styles, the cheez whizzed This Way and fresh mozzarella-topped That Way (roll $5.50, hero $9.50) are wholly satisfying renditions of two Brooklyn classics. When you're in the East Village (especially late at night), it's roast beef worth seeking out.
Brisket Cheeseteak at Butcher Bar
Does smoked brisket belong on a cheesesteak? Butcher Bar's does, with a cheese sauce that melts like Velvetta but tastes like actual cheese. The beef and cheese get equal billing here, boosted by caramelized onions and contained well with the sesame seed-topped burger bun. A tremendously messy sandwich, but a rewarding one.
The Short Rib Sandwich at Bluebird Sky
Served on a crispy baguette, the short rib is braised in wine and topped with onion jam and Gruyere cheese. The addition of horseradish gives the sandwich a nice bite, and the meat is tender and richly flavorful.
'Famous Steak Sub' from The Wing Bar
Not unlike a cheesesteak on different bread, it's got thin ribbons of steak cooked on a griddle with a mighty, mighty helping of onions, all covered with cheese and topped with a lid so everything steams and melts together in the heat. It's piled on a crusty, seeded roll that's just thick enough to sop up all the drippings.
The Wing Bar: 275 Smith Street, Brooklyn NY 11231 (map); 718-237-2728
Philly Cheesesteak from La Cense Beef Burger Truck
Steak Sandwich at Margon
Two thin pieces of tender peppered steak are grilled to order, topped with grilled onions, and placed on a lightly crusty bun. The meat releases just enough juice to moisten and flavor the bread without turning it into a soggy mess. The handful of potato sticks showered on top of the sandwich, as is done at many Cuban-style burger joints, is an unexpected way to round out the meal, but not an unwelcome one.
Margon: 136 West 46th Street, New York NY 10036 (map); 212-354-5013
Beef Torta from No-Name Taco Cart
A small, nameless cart on 28th and 6th produces one of the most satisfying five dollar lunches in the Flatiron district, tortas hefty enough to make you consider skipping dinner. The beef is tender, crisp on the outside, and decidedly beefy, in a way that reminded Ed a bit of pot roast. It's topped with tomato, fresh-sliced avocado, radish, lettuce, cilantro, and a dusting of cotija cheese, as well as generous squirts of a creamy white sauce and a tart salsa verde.
Taco Cart: 28th Street and 6th Avenue (look a little bit around this intersection, as he moves around throughout the day)
BBQ Brisket Slider from Mexicue Food Truck
Soft chunks of brisket are seasoned with a house "Mexicana" rub and doused in arbol barbecue sauce, giving the meat a smoky, sweet flavor with a hint of spice. The brisket doesn't disappoint: it's tender and moist without being fatty.
Cevapi at Ukus in Astoria
Cevapi are slender Balkan minced meat kebabs, about the diameter of a hot dog but half the length. They're springy, but not emulsified, and they should be juicy, preferably garlicky, and nicely charred. Ukus' beefy cevapi succeed on all counts, especially on the garlic part (seriously). $12 buys a "full" sandwich that can feed three; $6 gets you a "half" that you still may need help on.
Ukus: 42-08 30th Avenue, Astoria, NY 11103 (map); 718-267-8587
Roast Beef Press at Grey Dog
A well-executed French dip sandwich with melted Swiss, sauteed onions, horseradish sauce, and a cup of jus for dunking purposes. The bouillon broth looks scarily similar to sketchy coffee in its to-go cup, but the beefy juices loosen up the roast beef—almost enough to give you the impression you're eating prime rib right out of the oven.