First Look: Submarina is Just a Sliced to Order Version of Subway
Hello, my name is Chris, and I have a problem. I am (forgive me Zach) hopelessly addicted to Subway® sandwiches. Admission of guilt is the first step, and identifying a moral substitute for our shortcomings is the… 6th step? (I could never pay attention in those meetings). This is how I found myself as one of the first customers at the newly opened Submarina. Yes, like Subway, Submarina is a chain – perhaps less evil than the aforementioned sandwich shop, with only 78 national locations (vs. 33,346), an unassuming mission statement, and a suitably proletariat past. But my quest was to kick my $5 foot long habit, and I was lucky enough to pass by Submarina yesterday, which happened to be in the middle of their grand opening.
The format of Submarina should not be a foreign concept to anyone who’s set foot in a Subway restaurant. Select your protein and dairy fillings from the standard list of deli staples, choose between French, wheat or “squaw” (slightly sweet multi-grain) breads, apply vegetation and condiments. Order sandwich and stand back to gawk at the décor – the garish red and glossy yellow palette of colors, which, if found in the animal kingdom, would likely serve as a cautionary indicator to the unsavory nature of the adorned critter (think: Coral snakes, Amazonian poison dart frogs, etc).
On this initial visit, I was compelled to order the signature 9” ‘Cali’ sub ($5.89 for the 6”, protracted by 3 inches for an additional $2). Said sandwich sported tender and thinly sliced turkey, generously applied microwaved bacon, diminishing avocado and barely noticeable provolone cheese. A la Subway, one can augment their sub with the usual suspects of sides – predictably wan shredded iceberg lettuce, industrially sliced tomatoes, sprouts, onions, giardiniera, etc. A standard assortment of sauces (mayo, mustard, etc), are available at your discretion.
As I ate my lunch, I struck a conversation with the franchise General Manager. My principal question – “what differentiates Submarina from a Subway restaurant?” The manager proudly recited the bullet points: the most relevant being that the meat is sliced to order (possibly slowing down operations?), preventing microbial infestation that pre-sliced deli meats are allegedly susceptible to. Also, the bread is made from scratch and baked in their Queens location on a daily basis, as opposed to Subway’s practice of using frozen dough. I should add that this bread is far from artisanal, possessing the over-processed, over-refined, and monotonous quality as its main competitor.
Submarina probably won’t be a cure-all for those afflicted with an addiction to chain hoagie joints. And as of this inaugural assessment, it’s likely not a destination Midtown lunch venue. However, it’s a “safe” pick to take co-workers that are squeamish to street meat, but tired of the regular Financier, Pret, Café Metro rotation… as long as there isn’t a Subway® location closer to your office.
Submarina, 62 W. 56th (btw. 5+6th), 212-247-0025