Sunrise Mart Makes a Pretty Good Sandwich
I’ll admit, that when I first heard that Sunrise Mart was coming to Midtown, I was excited more for the grocery options than for the lunch items. I’d always loved the selection of hard to find Japanese ingredients at the East Village location and was psyched to have them so close to the office. Jeremiah’s opening report and later Donny’s review of the Oyakodon got my attention, so when I stopped in a couple weeks ago to do a little shopping, I was sure to scope out the rest of the menu.
With all the great Japanese food on the menu, what surprised me was how many interesting sandwiches were available. I decided to take a closer look and sample a few of them. Check them out after the jump.
My eye was drawn immediately to the pork sandwiches – katsu has been a longtime favorite of mine, and the idea of packing it on some nice bread with a cabbage and sauce sounded magnificent. Then I noticed the Philly Lamb Steak sandwich and then the Vietnamese Pork Steak Sandwich:
Packed with pork and some banh mi-ish veggie toppings, I had to try this first.
I won’t claim that this looks much like the photo at the shop, but it certainly tasted good. The carrots and daikon didn’t seem to be pickled, but the vinaigrette added the appropriate amount of tang. The pork looks to have been pounded flat, schnitzel-like, which was good, but ended up getting a little hidden behind the huge lettuce leaf, which sort of got in the way. Still, the other veggies managed to make up for it with a nice mix of flavors.
The sandwiches on the menu are assembled fresh while you wait and served hot on oval brioche rolls.
There are also some pre-made sandwiches filled with yakisoba, among other things. A noodle sandwich sounds a little odd to me, but intriguing. I may have to give it a try one of these days.
I don’t know what I expected from the Philly Lamb Steak. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a Japanese lamb preparation, much less one with cheese, so it was more curiosity that drove me than high expectations. It turns out that it was a great decision.
Thin slices of griddled lamb with peppers and cheese. The most surprising part is that the lamb really tastes like lamb, which doesn’t always appeal to everyone. Personally, I love real lamb like this and wish they could share their source with some of the street meat vendors around town.
In the end, it was the Japanese Pork, which I was so excited about that ended up being the major disappointment. It was all I’d said I wanted: thick fried pork filets, shredded cabbage, sweet katsu sauce. It just wasn’t quite what I wanted. There was a little too much sauce and it was a little too sweet. The pork was thick and fried, but it all seemed a little dry with the caky brioche roll. The cabbage managed not to balance the wetness of the sauce or add a proper crunchiness that the bread took away. It was unfortunate, but in the end, I’d absolutely go for a katsu platter instead. Maybe next time.
The sandwich selection was a nice surprise at Sunrise Mart and I’m certainly going to be back to try some more – or possibly to go get some more of that Philly Lamb Steak. In either case, I’m glad to have realized that there’s more to the options here than the standard Japanese fare.
Sunrise Mart, 12 E. 41st (btw. Madison+5th)