A Sandwich A Day: The Cuban Medianoche at Cafe Medina

A Sandwich a Day

A new sandwich every day.

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.


[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

I've seen the sign for Café Medina on 17th Street in Union Square many times, but I had never been in, and assumed it was really a café. As it turns out, it's a great pay-at-the-counter lunch station. When I went on a Monday, it was packed with lunchers from Flatiron offices.

The Cuban Medianoche ($8.95) boasts roast turkey, cured ham, jack cheese, dill pickle, and mojo sauce on a Cuban roll. Traditionalists (and recent readers of The Serious Eats Guide to Sandwiches) will note that this is not a proper Medianoche, as it lacks roast pork, Swiss, and the right kind of bread, nor is it a proper Cuban.

I'm not a stickler for sandwich rules though, and I enjoyed this sandwich a lot. There was a little bit of olive oil on the roll that had been thoroughly absorbed by the crumb during the pressing process, which made the bread flavorful and soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. The flavorful meat gets a boost from the pickle (more would be nice, though), and a few dashes of mojo sauce offered a little heat and flavor without overwhelming the sandwich. One major bone to pick: half-melted cheese is never a good thing in our book. Make sure to ask that your cheese gets fully melted.

We'll add Café Medina to the short list of solid lunch options in Union Square.

Café Medina

9 East 17th Street #2, New York, NY 10003 (map) 212-242-2777