By the time you get to the end of the list of New York’s best sandwiches in 2023 you’re going to be mad. You may even hate us. We know that as we are writing this. Scrolling through the litany of delicious dishes below, just to get to number 1 and then…. We can’t even say it.
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And there were so many sandwiches we could have chosen for that #1 spot. In a year when we saw Asian fusion, smash burgers and unique pop-ups take over the sandwich world, honorable mentions must be given to Turkey & The Wolf’s collard greens melt, Daily Provision’s Ceylonese chicken sandwich and Cocoran’s A5 wagyu katso.
But, after a lot of soul searching and trips down memory lane, all we know is that these are the best sandwiches we ate in 2023, so we couldn’t leave any of them out, even if they may have left us (for now):
10 – Oxtail DatMac Patty; Datz Deli
You’d have to be living under a rock to not know about Datz Deli. With reports that they are selling 10,000 sandwiches a month, either yourself or someone you know is one of the New Yorkers who devoured dat patty.
The concept here is simple but genius. Open a Jamaican beef patty, fill it with mac ‘n’ cheese, add oxtail (or jerk chicken, curried goat etc), stuff it all milk bread and douse it in delicious sauce. This is comfort food done right. It’s more than that. It’s the comforter that your comfort food rests on. Come get cozy.
9 – Toasted Mortadella; Clubhouse
2023 was the year of the mortadella renaissance. In the greatest comeback story since the brussels sprout, mortadella is having its moment in the spotlight. Cinderella has arrived for the ball and she’s come wearing unspecified tubed meat.
Accompanying Cinderella to the ball is Robert Seiber with his outstanding sandwich pop-up Clubhouse Sandos, located at the former site of Scarr’s Pizza. Clubhouse featured a fairytale sando line-up including The Lukey – a toasted mortadella, white cheddar, calabrian chili jam, dijonnaise, arugula, pickled shallots and herbed focaccia sando. Everything hit just right in this sandwich. We just need to wish it back into existence in 2024 after their winter hiatus.
8 – Tripleta; Kiosk 787
Never stop learning, they tell us. Keeps you young, they say. Ignore them, we usually do. But ‘they’ may be right after all. Because this year we learned about the Puerto Rican tripleta sandwich, and we now we are eager to study this cuisine more.
That gastronomic educational experience was delivered by Kiosk 787 – a brand new hole-in-the-wall crafting the tripleta. This sandwich knocked us back with its trio of sumptuous meats – sirloin steak, ham and pork – as well as the flavorsome additions of MayoKetchup, potato stix and swiss cheese. The sandwich gives off Cubano vibes, but tips the scales a little heavier with more meats and less pickle than its western neighbor. Go eat one of the best sandwiches of 2023 now.
7 – Patty Melt; Lovely’s Old Fashioned
Is it a sandwich? Is it a burger? Do you care when it tastes this good? The patty melt’s status in the sandwich world has always come with a level of unwarranted judgement. As such, the dish itself has often been relegated to the bottom of the sandwich kingdom, stuck in a strange void somewhere between the sandwich and burger sides of a menu. In total defiance of this trend, Lovely’s Old Fashioned is bringing New York’s attention to this undervalued sandwich.
5 – Hip Tang Chicken Chopped Cheese; Comfortland
Keith Lee caused some waves (aka a tsunami) with his decision to eat a salmon chopped cheese this year. Let’s be honest, you really shouldn’t mess with a New York chopped cheese. And you should most definitely never order salmon from a bodega. Never. But then you discover Comfortland’s amazing hip tang chicken chopped cheese and you can’t help but look at this classic sandwich differently.
The chopped chicken and bacon is a classic combo, but that’s the only thing ‘classical’ about Comfortland. From the eclectic menu and décor to the addition of white wine, sauteed onions and balsamic fig jam in this sandwich, everything here is unique. Maybe not salmon chopped cheese unique, but just the right amount that makes Comfortland a place to visit ASAP.
6 – Breakfast Burrito; Ceremonia Bakeshop
Everyone has their own hangover ‘cure’. For some it’s a Pedialyte and pain killers. For others its pickles and sriracha (don’t ask). But for the real ones it’s all about finding that perfect breakfast burrito to help eat your way out of the hangover. Luckily for its neighbors, or those in a walk of shame radius, Williamsburg’s Ceremonia Bakeshop can help.
The breakfast burrito at Ceremonia is sensational. It’s Californian style harkens back to its owners roots, and also acts as a perfect retort to the West Coast’s claim that there’s no good Mexican food in NYC. A spicy chorizo and house made fire roasted tomatillo salsa get the nostrils flaring. Roasted potatoes scrambled egg and scallions create the delicious weight to the dish, while generous cheddar cheese and avocado are perfect for the pull and posts. And that toasted tortilla…wow. Almost makes us want to be hungover again.
4 – Chopped Brisket and Chicharon; Bark Barbecue
From little things, big things grow. Beginning in his garage in Queens, pit master Reuben Santana began perfecting traditional Texas low and slow style barbecue, but with his own Dominican spin on things. From there Bark Barbecue hit neighborhood pop ups, bars, Smorgasburg and eventually before finding a permanent home in the Timeout Market.
If you know nothing about Dominican food, take comfort in the fact that of all the famous vendors in the market, the line for Bark is easily the longest. And its no surprise why when you bite into the melt-in-your-mouth brisket inside a milk bun. The smoke, the tenderness, the sweetness of the sauce – it all swirls into one of those New York moments for your mouth. But nothing prepares you for that crunchy chicharron. It alone is a reason to visit the Big Apple, but when that salty crunch crumbles between your teeth… let’s just say that Hometown suddenly has serious competition for the best BBQ in NYC. That’s big.
3- The Pork Tonkatsu; Izakaya e4
This sandwich is marketed as ‘the greatest pork tonkatsu on earth’, which is a claim almost as bold as the flavors in this extraordinary sandwich itself. Watching this sando being meticulously handcrafted is like watching Michelangelo chisel his David. Everything is done with such skill and grace at Izakaya e4 that the greatest on earth mantra suddenly does not seem so crazy. neither does its listing on the podium for the best New York sandwiches of 2023.
The pork loin in this sando is thicc. 1.5 inches thick. Make you blush as you eat it thick. And yet it is impossibly moist and tender thanks to a full day’s sous vis. Even knowing this, it defies physics how just how moist this piece of meat is. Physics haven’t been defied this hard since the Kardashians last makeover.
After a panko crust and a dip in wonderfully decadent tonkatsu sauce, it is cooked and slipped inside milk toast with a golden-brown tan so deep that 80s flight attendants would take notice. A rich mayo and grainy mustard combo is lathered on one side opposite a very confident swirl of hot Japanese mustard on the other. The overwhelming flavors make it impossible to concentrate, let alone think of any better pork tonkatsu on earth.
2 – The Porcodeddena; Via Della Scrofa
This sandwich is perfect. Let me say it again, PERFECT. The kind of sandwich that stops you in your tracks. Makes you lose consciousness with the world around you. You can’t believe what you’re eating while you eat it. This is what it must be like to get hit by lightning.
The reason for its perfection? Simplicity. Just four ingredients combine to make this incredible dish at Via Della Scrofa. Warm, salty porchetta lays thick over the top of a generous portion of soft creamy mozzarella that has been smoked for an added dimension. Sundried tomatoes drip their tantalizing olive oils over both to ensure just the right level of moisture in the sandwich, while crusty rosetta bread holds this all together with incredible textural structure. We are thunderstuck.
And any other year, this would be our number 1 sandwich with a bullet on the list of best sandwiches of 2023, buuuut…
1 – Sirloin Steak Sandwich; L’Industrie Pizzeria
A pizza joint is responsible for the best sandwich of the year, hands down. And worse yet, it’s not even available for you to eat right now. We warned you that you’d be mad.
L’Industrie Pizzeria opened its second location this year, this time in the West Village, and like its Brooklyn predecessor they offer a sandwich special every Wednesday. It just so happened that on Wednesday November 8, at approximately 12.35pm in the afternoon, they took our breath away with a steak sirloin, caramelized onion in beef tarlow, and cooper sharp American cheese.
The steak was cooked perfectly with just the right amount of pink middle and seared exterior to create that melt in your mouth texture. The caramelized onion adds that mix of sweetness and acidity, while the beef tarlow gives it an extra depth of flavor. Cooper sharp is the perfect addition to cut through the bold flavors, while the bread… oh boy that bread. Trust a pizza maker to nail the bread. 8 weeks later and we still think about that first kiss… I mean bite. Now we’re longing for the next one. We just have to wait until the next Wednesday L’industrie graces us with the presence of the best sandwich of 2023.