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…


  • Kati Roll

  • The best sandwich in NY IMHO is definitely a pastrami on rye from Katz’s. It is quintissentially New York, unbelievably tasty, and has more fat than anyone needs in a week.

    If you are committed to staying in Midtown I would go schwarma pita from Azuri.

  • One more thought. Even though it’s outside of Midtown Lunch territory (again geographically and pricewise), there is the best deal in the city, possibly in the country. Jean-Georges lunch for $30. you can usually get a table at noon for 2 people. Can’t beat it.

  • Speaking of Scandinavian, the meatball and beet sandwich at FIKA is very tasty and fairly unique. (The flavor combination is somehow reminiscent of sweet Pennsylvania Dutch ring bologna on a substantial wheat loaf.) They have excellent coffee as well. The counter space is fairly minimal though. AQ Cafe also has sandwiches and meatballs, but no meatball sandwiches. Go figure. (Have their crazy, delicious soup instead–ie Cauliflower with chicken salad, in it? It somehow works . . .)

  • Lamb on pita from Kwik Meal, extra green hot sauce (make sure they actually put it on, they tend to forget, its amazing and its fiery).

  • I say Kati Roll if that counts as a sandwich. That is sort of unique but if that does not count as sandwich, then the cubano from Margon.

  • pastrami at 2nd ave deli

  • Watch the small talk at lunch. Ralph’s part of the family is Ralph’s on the Park, Mr. B’s Bistro, Bacco, Redfish Grill. Not the Brennan’s on Bourbon. They have filled the law reporters the last few years with their internacine warfare over who holds the right to use the name. There is not a sandwich in NYC that can top a roast beef at Parkway Bakery, swiss cheese, mayo, lettuce, gravy………..

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