Americans love sandwiches, probably more than any other food. There's just something so perfectly delectable about a meal that can be stuffed in between two slices of bread.
And while there are plenty of classic American sandwiches — Katz's corned beef in New York, Philippe's French dip in Los Angeles — with no offense intended to those standard-bearers, there are few things more exciting to food lovers than discovering a fantastic new sandwich. That being said, here are the best sandwiches we discovered this year.
Endless Simmer took a look at some of the more outrageous sandwich creations popping up at restaurants around the nation — from Korean cheesesteaks to Brussels sprouts subs and fried chicken and doughnut monstrosities. While it seemed nearly impossible to top that list, it turns out America’s sandwich artisans haven’t stopped innovating.
This year, we scoured the nation and found some of the craziest, loveliest, cheesiest, most creative new sandwiches yet. From the simple-but-genius pane e panelle to some much more outrageous creations (Vietnamese meatball sub, anyone?), these 10 new sandwiches are each worth getting on a plane for.
1. Irish Breakfast Sandwich — Beachside, San Francisco, Calif.
When it comes to outrageously meaty meals, it’s hard to beat a full Irish breakfast, which always must include thick slabs of salty bacon, savory Irish sausages, and circular slices of black (blood) pudding and white (oatmeal-pork fat) pudding. But what if you put all of those ingredients on a sandwich? Clearly, it would be unbeatable. Beachside's sandwich has all of those porky products, plus a fried egg and slice of grilled tomato, only slightly fancied up with a thin layer of garlic aioli spread on the crispy bread, and a house-made, tamarind-spiked "brown sauce" on the side for dipping.
2. Roasted Cauliflower — No. 7 Sub, Brooklyn, N.Y.
No. 7 Sub chef Tyler Kord can do amazing things with meat, but we’ve been most impressed with his uncanny ability to turn regular old vegetables into exciting sandwich creations (his Brussels sprouts sub made our original best new sandwiches list). When No. 7 expanded to Brooklyn this year, he added this cauliflower creation that yes, sounds like something a stoned 9-year-old might have created, but is most definitely adult-approved. Sautéed cauliflower florets are topped with golden raisins, scallions, potato chips, and smoked French dressing, for one seriously fulfilling veggie meal.
3. DUC — Xe May, New York City
This may not be the only banh mi on the list, but this one at new East Village sandwich spotXe Maytakes the cake by going half Vietnamese, half Italian, for perhaps the craziest meatball sub ever created. Grilled meatballs are covered in house-made tomato sauce and provolone, but finished with the full banh mi treatment: fresh cilantro, pickled carrots, daikon, cucumbers, and chile mayo, all served on a crispy baguette.
4. Grilled Cheese Doughnut — Tom + Chee, Cincinnati, Ohio
There have been lots of crazy grilled cheeses popping up across America this year, but none gets our saliva flowing quite like the simple-but-genius version at Cincinnati’s Tom + Chee. Can you really argue that a grilled cheese wouldn’t be better if put between two slices of grilled doughnut instead of bread? No, you can't.
5. Garlic Bomb — Jake’s Sandwich Board, Philadelphia, Pa.
Clearly, Philadelphia is not letting Virginia lay claim to the cheesesteak crown just yet, and Jake’s Sandwich Board has stepped up to the table with perhaps the ultimate garlic-lovers’ creation. A crusty roll is covered in homemade garlic spread, and then topped with rib-eye steak and melted provolone, plus more sautéed garlic on top, and the garlicky pièce de résistance: deep-fried, crunchy, battered whole garlic cloves.
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