The Serious Eats office is dead in the thick of New York's Italian American culture—at least what used to be. It's no secret to anyone who calls New York home that Little Italy is as Italian as Mario the plumber. But still, with the thousands of tourists that pass through daily, you'd expect some places to do a classic Italian combo hero right. Here's our take on the contenders.
'Parisi Bakery' on Serious Eats
"Could I get a potato and egg sandwich on lard bread?" I asked. "No!" the more surly of the counter people respond. "You see the size of that loaf? That's two potato and eggs.
Looking back on 2012, here are the bites and slurps I remember most fondly. From oysters to fried chickpeas to soba and uni, here we go...
This list isn't everything, but it is eighteen ways to answers to the question. From Flushing to Bay Ridge to the Lower East Side...and back to Flushing, here are the bites that made my year.
It's been a great year for sandwiches in this city. We found new loves in pastrami and patty melts. We celebrated grilled cheese in all its oozy forms. We even hacked a few sandwiches of our own. Here are 30 standout sandwiches we had this year.
Beef, that delicious master of forms. We love it cured into salty pink pastrami and layered on rye. We love it ground with Parmesan, shaped into meatballs, and lined up on a saucy sub. We love tender short ribs and grizzly burnt ends, stringy brisket and tangy corned beef. It's just so tasty in all its outfits; here are 25 to get you drooling.
We're having something of a lard bread problem at Serious Eats HQ—we just can't stop eating the stuff. So here's another way to put it to good use: a neighborhood sandwich hack that makes my new favorite Italian sandwich in New York.
Maison Kayser's sourdough baguettes may have us in French bread paradise of late, but what's the bread you're most likely to see at SE HQ right now? Lard Bread, also called prosciutto bread. It's an Italian bread with cured pork baked right into the dough, and we're in love.
It's hard not to love a pork sandwich. Chicken is great, but nothing matches pork's flavor, fat and versatility (pulled! smoked! cured!). Whether it's juicy barbecue or salty soppressata, pork is kind of our favorite thing to see between two slices of bread. We combed through our sandwiches archives for 25 pork sandwiches that we salivate just to think about.
There are days when nothing less than a meatball parm will do. You may be looking for something warm and filling on a nippy day, or maybe you just have that slightly self-destructive urge to eat a sandwich that could feed a family of four. For days like this, there's the Meatball Parmagiana ($8) from Parisi Bakery.
For more than 20 years I've been writing about the importance of family-run food businesses who are still dedicated to excellence in our food culture. So when we received an email that Joe Parisi, the heart of Parisi Bakery on Mott Street passed away, we felt compelled to give him and his business a shout-out.
If you've been let down by the muted heat of supposedly "spicy" salumi elsewhere, give the Spicy Capicola ($8) at Parisi Bakery a try. The capicola is liberally rubbed with bright ground chili and piled high—and I mean high—on a fresh Parisi hero roll. The heat will sneak up on you, but it's a great, bright burn; it's the punchy counterpoint to the buttery, almost provolone-like tangy fat of the capicola.
Flour, water, yeast, and salt. Back in 1903, a Neapolitan immigrant named Joe Parisi opened the Parisi Bakery at 198 Mott Street in Little Italy. The residents of that stretch of Mott were almost all from the Naples area, and Joe baked for them the kind of loaves that they knew from the old country.
While the Italian-style cold cut sandwiches are a major draw at Parisi Bakery, they've got plenty of vegetarian options, too, like this enormous eggplant mozzarella sandwich. While the eggplant was layered on just a little too thick for us, the milky mozzarella and housemade hefty roasted red peppers make this sandwich a winner.
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...