Slideshow: 30 NYC Sandwiches We Loved in 2012

Open Face Beef Cheek Sandwich at Perla
Open Face Beef Cheek Sandwich at Perla
Perla is one of favorite restaurant openings of the year, and after eating our way through the entire menu, this sandwich remains hauntingly delicious. The all-apart tender cheek meat is packed to bursting with meaty brawn and caramelized flavor, all of which is soaked up by the crusty slab of bread underneath. You will love this sandwich, but you'll probably want to split it with a friend and share a salad as well. Read more »

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Rubirosa Sandwich at Rubirosa
Rubirosa Sandwich at Rubirosa
Every component brings something to the table, from the sweet roasted peppers to the oily pesto spread that graces a lightly toasted semolina roll. The crown jewel is a cutlet of well-seasoned, slightly lemony brick-pressed chicken that blows other sandwich-bound chicken out of the water. Tomato and fresh mozzarella also do their part to make this sandwich a winner. Read more »

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Mr. Victor at Court Street Grocers
Mr. Victor at Court Street Grocers
We loved the crazy snappy, peppery breakfast sausage on its own, but all the more so with bites of pork-saturated egg. The rustic roll is just crusty enough to be assertive without smooshing out the innards; its tender, poofy crumb cradles everything well. We loved you before, Court Street Grocers; you're one of our favorites now. Read more »

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

The Lamb 'Hot Pocket' at Certé
The Lamb 'Hot Pocket' at Certé
We always look forward to Certé's monthly sandwich specials, and this might be the most interesting we tried: two thin sheets of pasta stuffed with deeply gamey red wine-braised lamb, goat cheese-potato purée, and sautéed kale and shallots, which is all baked into the best hot pocket you've ever had. Read more »

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Smoked Salmon Tartine at Maison Kayser
Smoked Salmon Tartine at Maison Kayser
Eric Kayser's arrival to the Upper East Side instantly changed the city's bread game, and this tartine with smoked salmon, cream cheese, fried capers, and a sunny side up egg makes the best use of his levain boules on the breakfast menu. Read more »

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Chicken Shawarma at Duzan
Chicken Shawarma at Duzan
Your $5 pita comes stuffed with generously marinated spit-roasted chicken, tender and crisp with a rich flavor evocative of fresh coriander and turmeric. There's salad, too, a mix of cucumber, lettuce, cabbage, and onion. Strips of pungent pickled turnip and sweet tahini round things out, and the pita is consistently fresh, fluffy, and moist. A hidden Astoria gem. Read more »

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Sabih Croissant at Zizi Limona
Sabih Croissant at Zizi Limona
Eggplant and egg on a croissant? With potato salad and harissa? How could this possibly be any good? How stoned did someone have to be to come up with the idea? But trust us: it works very well indeed. The eggplant is gorgeously smoky and gets accentuated by tangy-sweet cooked down tomato and especially aromatic cilantro. The best croissandwich we've ever had. Read more »

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

House Pastrami Special at M & O Market Deli
House Pastrami Special at M & O Market Deli
M & O Market is our new favorite deli of the year, an unassuming bodega in Soho that makes some surprisingly delicious sandwiches. On most afternoons they have housemade pastrami, which is sweet and meaty with a pronounced bark. Order it in a Rachel with coleslaw, Swiss, and Russian dressing for one of the best on-the-go lunches in the neighborhood. Read more »

[Photograph: Jessica Leibowitz]

Grilled Cheese at Dominique Ansel Bakery
Grilled Cheese at Dominique Ansel Bakery
We first tried this grilled cheese on our tour of Soho with Andrew Carmellini, and it was the best bite of the day. The cheese (a blend of mozzarella, Gruyere, and Fontina) doesn't even try to contain itself; it bowls over the crusty sourdough and caramelized onion marmalade for an over the top cheesy experience. This is French onion soup in sandwich form, and it's glorious. Read more »

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Slow Roasted Pork at Rucola
Slow Roasted Pork at Rucola
An unpressed Italianate take on the Cuban with chunks of slow roasted pork, provolone instead of Swiss, speck instead of ham, and pickled hot peppers and green tomatoes instead of cukes. There's mayo as well, hardly the same as mustard, but a worthy, and in this case superior stand-in. It's crisp and porky with plenty of pickled sass; juice dribbles down your chin like the best burger. Read more »

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Los Muchachos at Caracas Arepa Bar
Los Muchachos at Caracas Arepa Bar
A double header of meaty grilled chorizo and salty, chewy fried white cheese. Sautéed peppers and jalapenos add sweetness and some juice to all the heft. This chorizo isn't like the loose Mexican or preserved Spanish types you may have had; it's finely ground and a little mild, but picks up charred grilled flavors beautifully. Read more »

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

 Slow Roasted Short Rib Panino at Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria
Slow Roasted Short Rib Panino at Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria
Upon seeing this monster of a sandwich, we first wondered, Holy hunk of beef, how the hell is one meant to eat this? A beast of a panino, the inch-think slab of slow-roasted short rib is insanely rich, and the copious amount of melted gorgonzola only boosts it. An onion agrodolce imparts a faint sweet and sour note, but it's not enough to alleviate the assault of richness. Share with a friend! Read more »

[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Porchetta Panino from Emporio
Porchetta Panino from Emporio
In 2012's chronicle of porky sandwich fillings, porchetta became the new bacon, and Emporio's version fast became one of our favorites. Though the porchetta itself isn't best in class, the carefully chosen but minimal additions of good olive oil and a simple side salad let it shine. Read more »

[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Torta Pumas at Tortas Neza
Torta Pumas at Tortas Neza
This taco and sandwich truck in Corona has some awesome carnitas and chicken tinga, but the claim to fame is the Pumas: a skull-sized monster containing fried, hot-dog-like sausages; a breaded and deep fried chicken cutlet; a chorizo omelet; several slices of head cheese and ham; refried beans; pickled jalapeños, lettuce, tomato, and avocado; and a generous helping of fresh, stringy, Oaxacan-style cheese. It is as delicious as it is enormous. Read more »

[Photograph: James Boo]

Pancake with Egg at Henan Flavor
Pancake with Egg at Henan Flavor
An even cheaper version of the egg on a roll breakfast classic: a fried egg set in a nearly greaseless, spongy griddled pancake, with a little soy to liven it up. Is it the most exciting sandwich? No, but it costs all of seven quarters and is totally tasty in its own right, a testament to Chinatown's ingenuity and absurd affordability. Read more »

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Shakshuka at Taboonette
Shakshuka at Taboonette
We now view our knowledge of the Union Square lunch scene in two eras: Before Taboonette and After. There isn't a single bad sandwich at this Middle Eastern pita parlor (the rice plates are killer too), but our favorite might be the stewy shakshuka, run through with garlic and harissa. It's a gloriously sloppy sandwich, but the fluffy pita holds up well even after a 20 minute subway journey. The best part? It's a breakfast sandwich served all day. Read more »

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Soft Shell Crab Banh Mi Sandwich Hack
Soft Shell Crab Banh Mi Sandwich Hack
Friend of Serious Eats Eater X (who must remain anonymous, lest his brilliance get discovered by the Secret Sandwich Society of North America) brought us a very special treat one day: a banh mi stuffed with a fried soft shell crab from Great NY Noodletown. The making-of is almost as fun as the final sandwich. Almost. Read more »

[Photograph: Dave Katz]

The Dominique Kouign Amann and Osteria Morini Ice Cream Sandwich Hack
The Dominique Kouign Amann and Osteria Morini Ice Cream Sandwich Hack
Dominique Ansel's buttery caramelized kouign amman is one of our favorite pastries, period. If you slice it in half lengthwise you'll find a small hollow that just happens to be the perfect size to hold a scoop of nearby Osteria Morini's fantastic vanilla gelato. Put them together and you have, quite simply, the best ice cream sandwich of your life. The folks at Dominique Ansel liked the idea so much they now offer it as an off-menu special with their own housemade ice cream. Read more »

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Tuesday Night Patty Melt at Parm
Tuesday Night Patty Melt at Parm
Parm's new Tuesday night special is cooked to a perfect medium rare, and the loosely packed beef has some great funk. Though we wish the bread were a little thinner, it comes with these amazing potatoes that are salt-boiled, smashed, and fried into crisp bites of utter deliciousness. Read more »

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Classic Melt at Murray's Cheese Bar
Classic Melt at Murray's Cheese Bar
The all-cheese menu at Murray's new cheese bar can make for a daunting, dairy-saturated meal, but there are some awesome items worth the trip. Principally, this grilled cheese. Gruyere, Tickler, and buffalo mozzarella cheeses flood from thick-cut white bread with a shellacked crust, extra slick and buttery, to give a well-made grilled cheese the textural contrast it so deserves. A smoky, creamy-but-light tomato soup is slurpable, bowl-lickable—with what's that?—cumin on the finish, beguiling and totally appropriate all at once. Read more »

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Bresaola at Barbarini Alimentari
Bresaola at Barbarini Alimentari
It's rare to find a bresoala sandwich that so perfectly balances cured meat, Parmesan, and arugula, but Barbarini near the South Street Seaport pulled it off. The restaurant and market remains closed after Sandy, but we're wishing it a speedy recovery. If and when it reopens, we hope to be first in line. Read more »

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Man, That's Good at Murray's Cheese Shop
Man, That's Good at Murray's Cheese Shop
Chicken, bacon, avocado, and pimento cheese, all on toasted white bread and in perfect proportion? There's a lot going on in this sandwich, but they gave it that name for a reason. Read more »

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Pastrami on Rye at David's Brisket House
Pastrami on Rye at David's Brisket House
This Bed-Stuy institution—a longstanding Jewish deli now operated by Muslims—has a pastrami that goes toe to toe with any of its Manhattan counterparts. It's full-flavored, fall-apart tender, and resoundingly rich, and at $6 for a "small," way cheaper than Katz's. Read more »

[Photograph: James Boo]