Editor's note: Robyn Lee, is also known as the Girl Who Ate Everything, and that's not far from the truth. She's out and about so much around the city that I asked her to write about some of favorite New York spots for this site. This is the first of them. —Ed Levine
The outside and inside of Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop, along with some sandwich innards
The Lower East Side's Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop is my most oft-visited sandwich shop in the city. They may not make the best sandwiches in the city, but the quality is much better than what you'd expect for the price, and the location and setting make it a convenient, relaxing place for me to eat dinner with friends.
My favorite sandwiches involve melted cheese, from standards like the seemingly butter-laden grilled cheese and tuna melt, to more interesting ones like Silly Philly Portobello (portobello mushrooms, sautéed onions, and provolone cheese) and Southwestern Chicken (breaded chicken cutlet, melted cheddar, bacon, onion, and barbecue sauce). If you're not into gooey cheese, you can create your own sandwich from their wide selection of breads, ingredients, and spreads.
Many sandwiches can be made vegetarian, I assume by way of replacing the meat with a soy-based substitute. I've never tried these sandwiches, but I heard they're very good. And if you don't want a sandwich (which would be crazy, but hey, whatever floats your boat), there are plenty of salads to choose from.
The bread they use is surprisingly awesome, my favorite being the toasted sesame semolina roll. It's crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and full of nutty toasted sesame flavor.
A small, grilled cheese sandwich
All sandwiches come with potato chips (there's no other choice) and most sandwiches can be ordered large or small. Despite my gluttonous ways, I've never felt the need to order a large; the small is just enough to satisfy my hunger, far from giving me a food coma. You should only go for a large if you're starving.
The clean, spacious restaurant can fit a large group of people, a quality that can be hard to find for a place that mostly sells sandwiches. Sometimes I'll eat here with one other friend, other times with five friends. Why do they all want to eat here? Because small sandwiches only cost $5 or less, with large sandwiches costing about $3 more. It's easy on the struggling, young 20-something's wallet.
And if you're hankering for something sweet after polishing off your sandwich, just hop across the street to Sugar Sweet Sunshine, home to some of the best cupcakes in the city.
What's Not So Good?
If you go late at night for dinner, they may have run out of certain ingredients and types of bread, a problem I've witnessed on multiple occasions.
The crab cake sandwich was the worst sandwich I've ever had there. Maybe it was a one-time fluke that the crab cake was an overly mushy, somewhat tasteless patty, but I never wanted to try it again to find out.
Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop
Address: 129 Rivington Street, New York, NY 10002 (near Norfolk Street)
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