Gallery: Greatest Hits of 'A Sandwich A Day': Top 6 Ham Sandwiches

Ham and Gruyere at Dickson's Farmstand Meats
Ham and Gruyere at Dickson's Farmstand Meats

Why should anyone order a simple ham and cheese sandwich ($8)? Because it's one of the best we've ever had. Bright, creamy mayo and tangy mustard (here, Cherchies Hot Banana Pepper); slices of punchy, 6-month-aged Gruyere; and, of course, the ham—smoky, fresh, salty, perfect. Cured in-house and smoked for 16 hours. All between two slices of Country White from Amy's Bread.

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Dickson's Farmstand Meats: 75 Ninth Avenue, New York NY 10011 (b/n 15th & 16th Streets; map); 212-462-4338; www.dicksonsfarmstand.com

Ham and Avocado from 'wichcraft
Ham and Avocado from 'wichcraft

What makes this ham, avocado, and butter sandwich from 'wichcraft ($4.95) a breakfast sandwich—besides the fact that it's served before eleven—we're really not sure. But we've got no problem with super-salty smoked ham and ripe avocado on a baguette that's grilled until crunchy.

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'wichcraft: Various locations (map); www.wichcraftnyc.com

Pret a Manger's 'Famous Ham & Cheese'
Pret a Manger's 'Famous Ham & Cheese'

Applewood-smoked ham, Swiss cheese, baby leaf lettuce, and mustard-mayo. The ham is from Niman Ranch and is plenty flavorful. There's not a heaping amount, which I find refreshing — sometimes I don't want half a pig between two slices of bread — and what's on this sandwich is easily discernible among the other flavors yet not overpowering.

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Pret a Manger: Various locations throughout Manhattan (find one)

Cafe Zaiya's Cheap and Dainty Ham Sandwich
Cafe Zaiya's Cheap and Dainty Ham Sandwich

These sandwiches aren't for the hearty eater. They're small, thin, and delicately layered with just a few slices of ham, a leaf or two of lettuce, a squirt of Japanese mayo, and a single slice of tomato. But if you've had a power breakfast and just need a light lunch to get you through to dinner, they'll do you right. The best part is that at $3.50, they're crazy cheap.

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Cafe Zaiya: 123 Fifth Avenue, 18 East 41st Street, New York NY 10017 (map); 212-779-0600; www.zaiyany.com

Bikini at El Quinto Pino
Bikini at El Quinto Pino

This sandwich may be dainty looking, but don't underestimate it—any bigger and you'd be contending with a buttery gut bomb. Extra-thin slices of bread, crustless, are heavily buttered. In go layers of ham and cheese (jamon y queso, in this joint). A drizzle of truffle oil and then a trip through the panini press.

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El Quinto Pino: 401 West 24th Street, New York NY 10011 (map); 212-206-6900; www.elquintopinonyc.com

Fresh Ham Sandwich at La Taza de Oro
Fresh Ham Sandwich at La Taza de Oro

The fresh ham at Chelsea Puerto Rican lunch counter La Taza de Oro is quite a feast for six bucks: a huge pile of pork haunch, roasted, chopped, and heaped onto a long, slightly crusty white roll. Crunchy bits, fatty bits, meaty bits, and all. Of the three apparent ingredients—pig, bread, salt—it's the last that may turn off some; three glasses of water later, I still felt my tongue parched. But if you love salty meat as much as we do, this is the sandwich for you.

Full writeup here »
La Taza de Oro: 96 8th Avenue, New York NY 10011 (map); 212-243-9946