City Sandwich Brings Portuguese Awesomeness to Midtown West

City Sandwich Front

I first got word of a new Portuguese inspired café, unassumingly named “City Sandwich” (on 9th Ave btw 45+46th St) via Eater this week. With the temporary incapacitation of Xie Xie, there is again a sore gap in Hells Kitchen for ethnic sandwiches, so ‘Portuguese sandwiches’ required immediate investigation.

There’s a lot to like about the humble honesty of this place – whether it’s the inviting Ikea-esque décor, their quirky mantra of “No Mayonnaise” (they prefer yogurt), or their kaleidoscopic menu of soups, salads, and 20 different sandwiches, each playfully named after a friend or family member of the Chef/Owner. Lest we not judge a book by its cover, underneath this demure appearance is some serious cooking and ambitious food… well worth traveling a bit out of bounds for.

The Chef and Owner, Michael Guerrieri, has spent over 10 years living in Europe, first acquiring Italian cooking techniques in Naples, which eventually translated to opening an Italian restaurant in Lisbon, Portugal. Appropriately, the menu at City Sandwich is heavily influenced by Portugal, boosted with Italian flavors here and there. Portuguese proteins such as paio (pork sausage), morcella (blood sausage), alheira (chicken sausage), and bacalao (salt cod) make an appearance on the menu. For the unadventurous, there are family friendly meat and cheese options – roast beef, turkey, ham, mozzarella, and the like.

Bacalao Sandwich

I first sampled the ‘Chef’ sandwich ($9.75), which is constructed around bacalao, and is obviously the pride of the restaurant given its lofty moniker. The first bite into the crispy, crackly Portuguese roll left a light dusting of flour on my finger tips, and a content smile on my face. Bacalao, one of the treasured national food staples of Portugal, is reconstituted salt cured dried cod and sports an assertively salty, fishy flavor, and a tender, almost fluffy flesh. In the hands of an expert, the mummified cod goes from desiccate to delicate, and is used in a vast array of recipes. Here, this tightly edited bacalao sandwich is paired with briny capers, zippy black olive pesto, lettuce, tomatoes and onions.

Sandwich at City Sandwich

I also tasted the ‘Henrique’ ($8.50), which is apportioned with smoked Alheira chicken sausage, earthy collard greens, and creamy mozzarella. I’m a devotee of the Portuguese culinary practice of pairing salty cured sausages with the bitterness of greens, caldo verde being the best example. This sandwich recreates those flavors with precision.

Egg Sandwich

The ‘Pavia’ ($7.50) was perhaps the most substantial of the three sandwiches that I sampled, despite the fact that it was vegetarian. This sandwich was like an egg on a roll on ‘roids, and was packed with layers of squishy egg whites, melted brie, tender spinach and tomato. While egg sandwiches are consumed throughout the day in Portugal, I think this sandwich would have paired nicely with a morning hangover and a cup of strong black coffee.

Despite its out of bounds location, I see a lot potential in City Sandwich. It’s a worthy destination for folks who enjoy Portuguese flavors, and if anything, it’s a fine substitute for Xie Xie. I for one will certainly return – I have 3 sandwiches down and 17 more to try.

City Sandwich 649 Ninth Ave (btw. 45th & 46th st.), 646-684-3916


  • Chris — thanks for the insightful writeup. Good job in finding this seemingly hidden gem. I look forward to going there soon.

  • Oooh! Thanks Chris! I walk by this place every night peering in. Now I have an excuse to go in!

  • This is a lusophiles dream. I’ll look forward to trying the bacalao. Good write up.

  • Ooooh, excellent. This seems to be in what was formerly “Say Cheese” sandwich shop, it’s been vacant for a while, I didn’t even notice this place going in.

  • Nicely done Chris. I want to give this a try. I’m never in Hell’s Kitchen, but it looks like it’s worth the schlep.

  • The ‘Henrique’ looks like a real winner.

  • Crusty bread, cured meats and cheeses. Nice! ANd it better be worth the fancy price tag.

    Looks like a suitable replacement in a banh-mi lunch rotation.

  • Hello Chris
    Was a pleasure to hear your tasty thoughts. I wanted to thank you for taking the time to give us your opinion. Looking forward to tempt your palate with the remaining 17.. ask for me when you arrive.
    Kind Regards

  • Had the blood sausage today. Hands down the best new sandwich place in Midtown. Superb ingredients, prep, flavor. Worth every penny

    Mamacita, I’m available to be taken out here all next week, except Wednesday when Jaime is Amtraking up from Philly to perform a lunchtime back rub

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