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…


  • Zach. You gotta go with the Kati Roll. That shit changes lives. It changed mine. It made me a ML reader.

  • I might vote for pastrami on rye at Edison Deli, both for the sandwich and the venue. Good stuff.

  • Maybe that is Edison Cafe, not sure. You know, in the Edison Hotel on 47th Street…

  • O snap, there is some weird synchronicity going on, as I just wrote asking about New Orleans and linked to your posts from last year. I don’t have a good Midtown sandwich to recommend though, sadly!

  • Bacon,fried egg, black pudding on thick sliced toasted white.

    @ my home in Shropshire.No queues, no pack drill……no other patrons, just fucking marvelous face filling grub.

    With a cup o tea.


  • Anything with fried plantains sounds delicious.

  • I agree on Lazarra’s chicken parm. Also, if you are looking for a more out of the way spot and jsut down the block from lazarra’s is pick-a-pita. chicken schwarma in a pita with everything. e-v-er-y-t-h-i-n-g

    for a burger take him to hell’s kitchen cafe on 9th http://www.hkhellskitchen.com/

    order a burger there and you wont be sorry.

  • Mooreski (4:19) – You DO know that Five Guys is a DC-based burger chain, right?

  • LAH is on the right track, but Katz’s is too far away (that’s like bringing major league baseball players for the nuclear power plant softball game), and Carnegie Deli is terrible. Go to Second Ave Deli. Of course, the problem it’s just on the outside of Midtown Lunch territiry (geographically and pricewise).

    If you want to be authentic to the site, and if it’s nice outside, grab a Kwik Meal and eat in Bryant Park. But maybe a tad cold out tomorrow.

  • In this order:

    1) Shack stack at the Shake Shack. Out of bounds, but who cares!
    2) Kati roll cart
    3) Halo Berlin
    3) Halaal street meat vendors

  • No burgers. Compared to Port of Call, thin Manhattan burgers are lame (I’m talking about you, Burger Joint and Corner Bistro) and even the Shake Shack can’t compete.

    And when it comes to seafood – Redfish Grill has that barbecued oyster po-boy, so nothing here will compete…

    For an NYC sandwich, I’m thinking it’s gotta be the best Jewish deli sandwich you can find or something in the lamb gyro street meat category. New Orleans is weak on the German and Russian, and Scandinavian counts so Hallo Berlin is good, maybe something sandwich-like from AQ Cafe.

    Trinidadian-type Roti would work, but I don’t know a good one. So do Kati-roll. Not banh-mi (too much Vietnamese food in New Orleans).

    I got a lamb hero also by mistake from a Rafiqi – that was good.

  • Oooh, I am going to roll with earlier suggestions and say if he is coming to NY, the meal has to be NY style. So I’ll go with in mid-town bounds but out of price choice: The 2nd Avenue Deli– The only place to get good “old Style” deli is NYC.. I have eaten kosher-style deli from Tel-Aviv, to Paris, to Las Vegas (and Miami, LA and Toronto and maybe more if I think about it) and the only place it is done right is NY…

  • Does Kati Roll, count. I think it should since a wrap is really a sandwitch and lets be honest they are awsome and diffrent then you can find most places. If you are going to go with the classic sandwitch sullivan street is awsome as you told us many times. Lastly I know it is a tourist trap and way over midtown lunch price lines, but the rudy guiliani at the stage deli is probably the best classic sandwich in midtown, pastrami, cornbeef, cheese, coleslaw, and rusian dressing on a giant hero mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

  • It’s NYC — Chicken Parm is the only choice!

  • Joseph – Corner Bistro serves “thin Manhattan burgers”?
    Maybe if you’ve been digging in their dumpster. Those are some thick, juicy burgers.

  • Compared to Paul’s Corner Bistro offers White Castle esque sliders.
    My votes would be either Kati Roll or the Cubano at Margon (but then you’ll have to get a side of plantains and hot sauce).
    If this were New Brunswick, NJ I would reccommend a Fat Mojo and consider his arteries and contest done with.

  • I gotta vote 2nd ave deli or Sarge’s. Good Jewish style deli is our strength, use it.

    Barring that, go with Rafiqi’s and sit in Bryant park.

    Kati rolls are a strong contender as well….

  • Wow! How cool that you will have lunch with Ralph Brennan!!!

    How about the poboy at Two Boots? NOT!

    No I agree, you have to avoid something that he can get in NOLA, but even better there. Don’t embarrass NY and bring him to get a substandard muffaletta or poboy.

    Something that is quintessential NY like a pastrami at Carnegie or corned beef at 2nd Ave Deli is a really good idea. But also the kati roll, falafel at Moshe’s, Cuban at Margon, that kickass pork sandwich at Tina’s, parm at Manganaro’s…..all great choices and you won’t go wrong.

    But this is a special occasion. Put aside the $10 a day rule for this very special occasion.
    Get a burger at Del Frisco’s. $15 for a monstrous burger and handmade chips. I had one last week and thought I died and went to heaven. Everyone at work gathered around and drooled over me for the entire time I ate the thing. And they stole almost all my slamming potato chips too, buggers. I did my own burger week last week and visited burger joint, ted’s montana, primeburger, 5 guys, white manna, and del frisco’s…and Del Frisco’s slammed the competition into the ground. Burger Joint is great..but it is the cool factor, and not the taste that is the appeal.

    Enjoy your lunch!!!

  • New Orleans also rivals us for Italian sandwiches. I agree with Joseph – stick to Jewish deli or German/Scandinavian.

    Or Sullivan St Bakery – can’t wait til it’s warm enough to hike over there!

  • Best sandwich? BOUCHON BAKERY! I’m thinking the roast beef.

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