Brooklyn can add all the small plate tasting menu spots it wants, but if you ask me, Western cuisine hit its high point when the meal-between-bread idea was invented. While our borough isn’t always the most prolific when it comes to lunch-friendly restaurants, we have seen quite a few new sandwich entries open lately.
Smorgasburg favorite Landhaus opened its first brick-and-mortar spot on Union Avenue in Park Slope a few months back. I knew I liked this place when the woman making the sandwiches offered me a free stick of grilled maple bacon while I waited. I knew I loved it when I bit into the grass-fed short rib sandwich: juicy and fall apart-y, amped up with a tangy sharp cheddar sauce and pickled peppers. Getting a little more adventurous, the jerk chicken salad, mixed in a mango chutney and yogurt, is a unique win.
Grade: A. Classic, meat-y sandwiches with just a touch of hipster Brooklyn-ness. Did I mention bacon on a stick?
2. Brooklyn Sandwich Society
Just to be clear, Brooklyn Sandwich Society is not a sandwich shop. Yeah, I’m not sure why they named it that either. This Fort Greene spot seeks to elevate the sandwich to dinner level, which I’m all about, yet somehow they aim to do this with a lengthy menu that features just one sandwich each night. The ‘wiches themselves are hit and miss—loved the slow-braised beef brisket with Bloomsday cheese and sauerkraut; was underwhelmed by the $16 albacore tuna and leek. Their small plates, like a supremely savory duck meatball, are actually more successful. Maybe they just don’t love sandwiches.
Grade: C. Has potential, but focus your sandwich game or change the name.
3. Black Tree
This “pop-up sandwich shop,” which has previously appeared at farmers markets, is now serving dinner seven days a week and lunch Wednesday through Sunday at The Crown Inn bar in Crown Heights. The menu changes weekly, but it always features farm-friendly options like white-wine-marinated portobello mushrooms with Swiss and goat cheese. They plan to open a permanent LES shop very shortly for cross-the-river fans.
Grade: A-. Very welcome, non-greasy bar food option. Please don’t leave Brooklyn now that you’ve made the move to NYC.
Another Park Slope newbie (and another misleading name). Was I the only one who was excepting Vietnamese-Mexican fusion? No, Bahnmigos is just a cute name—the bahn mis here are pretty much traditional, with liver pate, ham and grilled pork topped by the requisite crispy vegetables. While there’s nothing revelatory here, the bread is nice and crispy, the meats appropriately spicey—this is a solid Vietnamese sandwich.
Grade: B. Still hoping someone else will invent the bahn mi burrito.
5. Lincoln Station
The latest from the very busy folks behind Al Di La and Bar Corvo, Lincoln Station opened about a month back, offering an upscale-grocery-meets-sandwich-counter-meets-wifi-workspace concept. They’ve got breakfast sandwiches until 11am—fried egg, bacon, cheese and salsa all smothered together on a ciabatta like some kind of gooey, glorious upscale Egg McMuffin. Lunchtime brings relatively simple sandwiches that nonetheless make the best of top-notch ingredients, as in Benton’s country ham with marmalade and salted butter on crunchy sunflower rye from Bien Cut bakery. It’s divine and surprisingly affordable $7.95
Grade: A+. All around, best in show.