Salume Serves “Real Italian Panini” in Times Square
The first of the four food kiosks in Times Square we told you about last month opened yesterday right in the middle of all the pedestrian foot traffic on Broadway near 45th Street. Salume is an outpost of an Italian sandwich shop in Soho. They claim to make real Italian panini, the likes of which New York has never seen.
As I was approaching it was hard to tell if there was a line for Salume or if that crowd of people were just tourists mindlessly gazing at themselves on the big Forever 21 advertisement. It was the latter. The only people at the Salume cart when I arrived were the workers and the management- who went on to tell me about the entire menu.
Aside from the tuna and a few vegetarian options, all these sandwiches are stuffed with some sort of sliced, cured meat (hence the name salume) and cheese. Every ingredient is imported from Italy, except for two meat items that are made in the states due to import restrictions. The bread is baked at Eli’s uptown and all the sandwiches are assembled in the Soho location and then rushed up to Times Square to be toasted and served.
Unlike the panini we’re used to, these are just quickly toasted and not flattened down. The cheese, meat, and other stuffings don’t become hot, but are only brought to room temperature. This is supposedly real authentic Italian panini. The menu lists 11 different sandwiches with most hovering around $11. A few options are $9 and aside from some drinks, they serve nothing else. No chips, no salad, no dessert.
The sandwiches were on display like they were jewelry. And none of them looked terribly appetizing on their own. I had a tough time choosing which one to try, but in the end I decided to splurge on the Felino, which featured salami, provolone cheese, arugula, horseradish, and olive oil. They were actually out of it when I ordered but they told me it would be here momentarily since the delivery guy was three blocks away. It felt like I was buying an illegal sandwich.
There was a nice amount of fatty, flavorful salami sticking out of the crusty and tender olive oil brushed bread. The arugula and hard provolone were both fresh and tasty. Unfortunately, I couldn’t taste much horseradish which is the reason I ordered the sandwich in the first place. Yet I was truly glad I got to try some of that beautifully aged salami.
This is definitely not what I think of when I think panini. Texture and flavorwise, it reminded me more of a crostini in sandwich form. And while I sort of missed that crispy, cheesy sandwich, a long time on a griddle would have no doubt destroyed all that freshness. $11 is a kind of a rip off for a sandwich of this size (even the owner referred to this as “finger food”) and without any sides. But the quality of the ingredients are evident and might be worth a splurge from time to time. Oh, and you have a great view of the Forever 21 sign… and that ain’t cheap!
Salume Kiosk, Broadway and 45th Street in Times Square