Check Out Gourmet 53′s Mexican “Inspired” Sandwiches

Please welcome our newest ML contributor the fold… Anna L.  She was profiled a few weeks ago, and we liked her so much we offered her a gig! Today, she lets us know about the new Mexican “inspired” sandwiches from Gourmet 53.

The coconut shrimp at Gourmet 53 is the stuff that Midtown Lunch dreams are made of, but did you know that they also have Mexican inspired sandwiches on the menu as well? They’ve actually had them for awhile but for some reason I haven’t bothered to try one until now. Carefully constructed with top-quality ingredients these are not, but they will certainly satisfy anybody looking for a cheap, delicious, and different sandwich (plus extras, but more on that later).

Gourmet 53 offers three types of Mexican inspired sandwiches: the Cemita Poblano, the Pollo Torta, and the Chicken Milanesa. All of the sandwiches are served with french fries, plus pita chips (or a roll), a cookie (of your choice), a little fruit salad (or Jello), and a can of soda for $8 plus tax. Once you place your order and move down the line, you can take a number to see if you win one of several free lunches each day, and guess what? Today was my lucky day… hello free pollo torta, with all the extras!

My torta included shredded chicken in chipotle sauce, black bean spread, roasted Serrano chile, Bibb lettuce, red onion, queso fresco, aioli, and papalo (“an herb similar to cilantro used in Mexican cooking” according to Google), all  piled into a toasted garlic hero. The sandwich was large and definitely very tasty, but parts of the description were a bit misleading. There was a hint of spice but I was hoping for a bit more heat from the chile, and probably wouldn’t really have noticed it had I not known that it was in there. The queso fresco seemed to be missing altogether, and papalo is still a mystery to me, but the ingredients that were there came together well, and the garlic bread was a welcome surprise.

My lunching companion had the Cemita Poblano, described as shredded all-natural pork butt, champagne mango, Oaxaca cheese, queso fresco, smashed avocado, aioli, and papalo, again served on toasted garlic bread. The mango (a strange addition to a cemita) definitely added a hint of sweetness and the pork was flavorful and tender but the cheese seemed to be absent again!  It’s kind of criminal to leave cheese off a cemita, but thankfully the sandwich still tasted awesome without it. If I were to go back for these sandwiches, I’d probably order this one again over the torta.

Basically, these sandwiches look like a mess and a half, but they are a tasty alternative to a regular deli sandwich, even with the few mistakes they seemed to make in their description/assembly. And, once again, who can argue with the amount of food that you get?

The + (What someone who likes this place would say)

  • Look at all these extras you get?! I love bonus food.
  • This is a tasty alternative to a generic deli sandwich.
  • I WON!! My day is now a little bit brighter.

The – (What someone who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • I’ve had better/more authentic/spicier/cheesier cemitas elsewhere.
  • Where’s the cheese?? And the spice?? And what the heck is papalo??
  • I want Mexican sandwiches, not Mexican “inspired” sandwiches!

Gourmet 53, Food Court in the Basement of 875 3rd Ave. (btw. 52+53rd), (212) 223-8481


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