As Liz Lemon so sagely observed, "All of humankind has one thing in common—the sandwich. I believe that all anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich."
So lunchers, take note: New York may have no higher concentration of sandwich deliciousness than Bleecker Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. At Serious Eats, we call it "Sandwich Alley." Sure, it's tourist-trafficked and traffic-thronged, lined with photo-snappers and discount boutiques. But between Murray's, and Amy's, and Faicco's, and the rest of the dozen sandwich-selling spots on this single block, there are more lunchtime choices than you could eat in a month.
So grab your sandwich of choice, wander down to Father Demo Square while the weather still lets you, and make your own date with Sandwich Alley.
The store-by-store lineup, after the jump.
Murray's Cheese Shop
Murray's lunch game seems to change with the tides. They've gone from pre-made toastable sandwiches to a design-your-own grilled cheese station and back again. But with plenty of options and rotating specials, there's always something delicious and melty at the ready.
We loved the funky Gruyere French Onion on rye ($4.49), the sweet Manchego and Serrano Spaniard ($6.49), and a special spicy melt with jalapeño slaw and habanero Jack cheese ($6).
All melted to order—with cheese samples as an amuse while you wait.
The Lobster Place
If you're hankering for a lobster roll on Bleecker Street, The Lobster Place is your spot. A freshly made lobster roll on a buttered, toasted bun, with chips and slaw, will run you $16.95. It's perfectly decent, as urban lobster rolls go: large chunks of lobster, not too much mayonnaise. But it's neither the freshest, the tastiest, nor the cheapest in town.
Almost everything Amy Scherber and her hardworking crew make—from bread to cake, from cookies to sandwiches, from pizza to focaccia—is damned tasty, with a few items reaching the level of serious deliciousness.
Favorites: pressed ham and cheese sandwich on a cheddar cheese biscuit, hot ham and cheese on potato dill bread, Genoa salami and mozzarella, and the grilled New York state cheddar cheese and tomato with chipotle pepper puree.
Blind Tiger Ale House
All right, you're more likely to know Blind Tiger for its dozens of beers on tap than for its food offerings. But open from 11:00 with sandwiches coming out of the kitchen by noon, it's a proud member of Sandwich Alley. While there's nothing quite destination-worthy on the menu, it's all far better than bar food has to be. This "banh mi" ($5.50) couldn't have been farther from the Vietnamese sandwich, but the barbeque pork and crusty roll made for a satisfying bite. Ditto the cheesy roast beef "Bloody Beast" ($5.50).
Faicco's Pork Store
Feast your eyes on the best sandwich in Sandwich Alley. It stands to reason that a century-old Italian meat store would make a killer Italian meat sandwich, and Faicco's $10 Italian Special doesn't disappoint: prosciutto, ham cappicola, sweet or hot soppressata (go for the hot), fresh mozzarella, and either roasted red peppers or sun-dried tomatoes, with plenty of olive oil, salt, and pepper—all of which fuse into every meaty, cheesy, juicy mouthful. Beautiful to look at. Better to devour.
Ed's favorite roast pork and mozzarella was tasty, too, but overshadowed by the mind-blowing deliciousness of the Italian.
260 Bleecker Street, New York NY 10014 (at Cornelia Street; map) 212-243-1974
Bleecker Street Pizza
Holding down the northernmost end of Sandwich Alley is Bleecker Street Pizza, whose tasty super-thin slices are joined on the menu by hefty Italian heros. This gut-bomb of a Meatball Parm ($6.95) was everything it looked like: heavy, hot, and satisfying, if bready and unexciting.
Where there was a sandwich, we had to try it. This catfish sandwich from Fish ($11) was perfectly decent—seasoned, moist—but totally unmemorable.
280 Bleecker Street, New York NY 10014 (at Jones Street; map) 212-727-2879
Known for its celiac-friendly eats, Risotteria serves both gluten-free and gluten-ful panini. This lamb, gorgonzola, and spinach sandwich had a great balance of flavor, with tender meat and just enough gorgonzola to spice things up. But at $12.50 for the normal version, and a whopping $14.50 for the gluten-free, the price was more than a little hard to swallow.
Honorable Mention: Rare Bar & Grill
Bread. Meat. Toppings. Is a burger a sandwich? One could make the case either way, but we thought Rare Bar & Grill deserved a mention. From AHT contributor Matt Jacobs:
We ordered the Rare burger with American cheese, which came with lettuce, tomato, onion, and a couple pickles. The meat was really coarse and incredibly juicy; I wasn't worried about eating a pile of mush. Biting in, it was clear this burger was worthy of its accolades. The meat melted in my mouth and the flavor was off the charts.
Honorable Mention: New York Hot Dog And Coffee
If a burger is a sandwich, is a hot dog a sandwich? Unsure. But we'll give you Ed's take:
The Bulgogi Hotdog is an inspired creation. My initial skepticism was quickly replaced by the realization that the bulgogi dog is one tasty tube steak. Move over, chili, there's a new hotdog topping sheriff in town.
Honorable Mention: Keste
All right, all right, a pizza is not a sandwich. But Keste's takeaway lunch special still deserves mention here: a small pizza margherita, just $6, boxed up and ready to go. While you might wait an hour to score one of their few tables on a weekend night, a lunchtime pizza gets in and out of the oven in about three minutes. And fold it in half for easy consumption, and you've got the tastiest pseudo-sandwich of them all. Come on—it's bread, sandwiching sauce and cheese, procured cheaply and quickly to go? If that's not a sandwich... well, it's a damn good lunch.