Where Do You Take New Orleans Royalty for the Best Sandwich in Midtown?

If you have been reading this blog from the beginning than you know that I am a big fan of New Orleans.  It may seem like a natural connection (fat guy like fried seafood sandwiches, dressed with tons of mayo), but there is a little more to it than that.  My wife went to law school in New Orleans, we were married there, and I’ve gained many pounds eating my way across the city (um… ok, I guess it is a case of “fat guy likes fried seafood sandwiches”).  I live blogged the food at last year’s Jazzfest, wrote about how disappointing the New York City Jacques Imo’s was (not surprisingly, it’s closed now), and we’ve had more than one profiled Midtown Lunch’er from the Crescent City.

So, you can imagine how blown away I was when I got this email last week from Blake Killian, author of the great New Orleans food blog Blake Makes, (and part time PR dude):

I’ve been a fan and a reader for a long time. I have a random request, and wanted to know if you’d be interested. One of my clients is a big fan of yours, and he is going to be in NYC March 25-27. He’s wondering if you would be available to go to lunch on one of those days to talk about his new cookbook.

You’d be meeting with Ralph Brennan about his first cookbookThe Brennans are a very old…

Uh- you can stop right there.  Are you kidding?  The Brennans?  As in Brennan’s, the restaurant in the French Quarter- Brennans?  As in, Commander’s Palace, home of the greatest dessert ever made in the history of the universe, the Brennan’s? (It’s the bread pudding souffle, by the way).  Yeah, I think I’ve heard of them.  The weird thing is, how the hell did this guy hear about Midtown Lunch?  And a “big fan”?  It’s a mystery, and I was afraid to ask “Why?” or “Really?”, too many times, for fear he would realize he had the wrong guy!  And while I’d much prefer having lunch with the dude in his city (NYC is great, but it can’t really hold a candle to lunch in New Orleans), I guess I can play host.

But here’s where I need your help…  Ralph has challenged me to take him out for the best sandwich in Midtown- a task made all the more difficult by the fact that he is visiting from arguably the greatest sandwich city in the country.  So I’m turning the decision over to you guys.  Post in the comments where you think I should take him, and whatever you guys decide- that’s where we’ll go.  Plus- everyone who posts a comment will be entered to win a copy of his new cookbook, “Ralph Brennan’s New Orleans Seafood Cookbook”.

My initial ideas, after the jump…

Milant is definitely my favorite sandwich place in Midtown, but is it unique enough for a Brennan?  I could go the po’boy route (the fried shrimp Po’boy I ate on Fat Tuesday from the Grand Central Oyster Bar was surprisingly good), but no Midtown po’boy is going to even come close to the sandwiches you can get in New Orleans.  Banh Mi would be awesome, but we’ve got to stick to Midtown- and as much as I like Boi to Go, it’s not as good as what you get in Chinatown.  Plus- there’s Daisy May’s and Sullivan St. Bakery (that’s not too far out of bounds, right?).  Do burgers count?  What about falafel or shawarma?  This is going to be tough…  what do you think?  We’re going tomorrow (Tuesday March 25th) so post your recs before lunchtime, and you’ll automatically be entered to win the book…


  • May not be the best, but the fried pork/plantains sandwich from Tina’s is pretty great…

  • kalustans muhjada(MS) sandwich none better 28th and lex

  • Chicken Parm at Lazzarras is a pretty good choice and a unique venue.

  • Shwarma in a laffa from Olympic Pita is probably my favorite. And if you go that route, you don’t have to worry about taking a New Orleans cooking pro to get po’ boys.

    Or how about that fried pork and fried plaintain sandwich at Tina’s? As I said when you first exposed that beauty, I peed a little when I saw it!


  • Whatever you do – do NOT take him for a fried shrimp po-boy! There’s just no way its going to be good enough! My vote is for an Azuri cafe falafel or Sullivan St. bakery sandwich. The Sullivan St. bakery bread can’t be beat and their creations are pretty unique. And Azuri Cafe is delicious and also unique NYC experience.

  • Damn I hope I win!!

    Anyways, here’s a weird thought inspired by the BF. He ended up getting a lamb HERO from a street cart. He asked for the Lamb Gyro but was heard wrong. Turns out it’s awesome. All this greasy lamb piled high on a toasted hero (toasted on the grill) topped with a bit of salad, peppers and white/hot sauce! It’s really great and is technically a sandwich right??

  • Howzabout a lamb-on-pita sandwich at 53rd/6th? Definitely a NY sandwich! (I’m eating a Rafiqi’s version right now.)

  • Considering you’re talking about Midtown- a good, cheap, tasty pita sandwich from one of the street meat carts could very well be the most representative pick.

    The slow roasted pork from wichcraft is pretty great though.

  • I think you can go with the international sandwich argument that any starch surrounding any protein so your fingers don’t get that messy is more or less a sandwich, and get the man a kati roll.

  • I think you gotta play to your strength. This is New York City, and if there is one thing we do better than anyone else, it’s the hamburger.

    Go Five Guys or Burger Joint, and show him the best that we have to offer.

  • Or a cubano from Margon. That works too.

  • I second the Cubano from Margon – great sandwich, decent price, the combination of NY hustle-bustle with ethnic flair.

  • How about the Burger Joint? It’s one of the better burgers in Manhattan and the hidden aspect makes it a fun place to take out-of-towners (although in recent visits, I’ve seen a growing number of tourists visiting the place).

  • Anything from Manganaro’s Heroboy on 9th/39th (personally I am partial to the eggplant parm).

  • What about all of the fabulous jewish delis with the massive sandwiches? Katz on the lower east side or if you have to stay in bounds, then the carnegie deli.

  • umm..SHAKE SHACK!!! although outside of ML territory…awesome location, and on a nice day cannot be beat.

  • i like the sandwiches at Sophie’s Cuban….

  • Cubano from Margon voter here.

  • Gotta disagree on Burger Joint. Especially considering you’ll be accompanying a restaurateur, the “hidden” aspect will be seen as the transparent gimmick that it is, and you’ll only have the taste of the burger itself to fall back on, which, while good, is certainly not anything special.

  • I recently went to Burger Joint and sat with some tourists from flyover country. I asked them how they found out about it and they pulled out some generic guide book to NY. It’s not the big secret we all think it is.

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