A Sandwich a Day: Polpettine Pagnotelle at Stella 34
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.
Stella 34 shares an address with Macy's: 151 West 34th Street. But the newly opened trattoria is above the store, with its own entrance on the corner of 35th and Broadway. If you don't enter there, you'll find yourself wandering the belly of the department store in search of an elevator. Once you find one, a clean, open, sprawling space awaits on the 6th floor. So too does the polpettine pagnotelle ($12).
Veal is the meat of choice for the polpettine (meatballs). It's delicate, laced with fresh herbs and ricotta, and rolled into bite-sized meatballs. Soft, focaccia-like bread bubbles up in spots and leaves dark, toasted, crunchy bits that contrast the tender, garlicky orbs. Wild arugula gives the sandwich a peppery, earthy bite, while San Marzano tomatoes and fresh mozzarella lend sweetness. There's a solid balance of ingredients, none of which overpower each other or show up in too liberal an amount.
Stella 34's website lists their pagnotelle (sandwiches) at $15, but the menu that greets you as the elevator doors open lists them at $12. The $3 difference is a significant one and given the mostly unfortunate lunch options in the surrounding area, an easier price to swallow.