Flatiron Lunch: Blue Dog has Big Options and Flavors in a Tiny Sandwich Shop

Every Friday we go south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between – but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.

Sometimes you just want a sandwich. Something a little more simple than the gourmet exotic sandwiches you might find at Num Pang (see exciting news that one is opening in Flatiron this year) or Sub No. 7 (although they both make insanely delicious sandwiches). And a little more special than a Boars Head turkey sandwich at the deli. Blue Dog has the sandwich you need.

In fact, they have a lot of sandwiches you might need. They also have smoothies, juices, wraps, egg sandwiches and salads, but I focused in on the sandwiches and soups. And almost everything is under $10. Even with many sandwiches featuring avocado, they don’t charge an extra $3 or so for avocado like so many Midtown Lunch spots. The sandwiches come with the option of baguette, multi-grains, ciabatta, or focaccia bread.

Blue Dog occupies a tiny space with cocktail height table seating for barely 10 people. The line sometimes forms in a straight line from the door to the register, while at other times it wraps to the right along pastry counter. Also, most sandwiches are made to order so takes a few minutes, which means most of the floor space is taken up by people standing around waiting for their order to be called.

If you tend to like everything (me) be warned- the menu is long and partially hidden behind the door, so it’s best to familiarize yourself in advance. On my way in, I overheard a customer telling his friend that the gazpacho is the best in the city. I tried to order it as part of the half sandwich and soup combo but was informed that only the soup of the day qualifies for the combo. I later found out that the hot sandwiches also don’t qualify. This is all a bummer, but $9.50 for half a sandwich and soup can be a great deal if you happen to really like the soup that day and are in the mood for a cold sandwich. (Note: the combo options aren’t listed online or even on their own printed menu, they are in the small left corner of the menu wall behind the door. I should also warn that the staff is a little shaky on what it means/entails/how they should ring it up.)

Blue Dog also features daily specials for soup, quiche, salads and platters so even better if you can come with several different game plans. Or perhaps it is best to make a hasty game-time decision.

Even with all of these restrictions, I decided to try the butternut squash and apple soup with herbed tuna salad sandwich combo. The squash soup was supposed to be small (12oz), but I am pretty sure they gave me the medium (16oz). The soup was good but not totally exciting and a little under seasoned.

The tuna salad was prepared as I like it: with light or non-existent mayo. The mixed greens on the sandwich included some arugula which added a nice bite. As a whole, I would say it was a decent sandwich, but not necessarily something I would reorder.

The other item I ordered was listed as Turkey BLT (8.75). I might have to read the book Eats, Shoots, & Leaves, because I missed a comma on the printed menu, so when I went to eat my sandwich, I found out that it wasn’t turkey, bacon but turkey bacon. I think this is incredibly deceitful because when it is listed as “turkey BLT” that should mean turkey on a BLT…but alas, it doesn’t at Blue Dog. The sandwich was still delicious despite my initial letdown. The turkey bacon wasn’t the same crappy turkey bacon that most delis serve, but something that didn’t look overly processed or colored. And it tasted good, too. (Also, turkey exists on the menu, so they have it in their kitchen! Why wasn’t it on my sandwich??)

Based on the glowing review of the gazpacho, I had to get that as well. It really is a class above other gazpachos with great combo of pureed and chunky veggies. It was hearty and almost meaty tasting. The description said it came with avocado, but it didn’t say that it was almost a whole avocado, which added a silky texture throughout. It had a little bit of spice, so be warned, but, really, it was outstanding. At $6.25 for the large, it will certainly put you over the ML budget, but after over-hearing such a ringing endorsement, how could I not try it?

I wasn’t convinced I had discovered the best that Blue Dog has to offer on my first visit, so I went back for another sandwich. This time, I studied the menu and went with the roast beef, caramelized onion, avocado, curry mayo and mozzarella sandwich ($9.25). This was definitely the best of the three sandwiches. It was warm with melted mozzarella (as much as mozzarella will melt), spicy (mayo) and sweet (onions).

I noticed a few details in the preparation that made the roast beef sandwich taste exceptionally good. It looks like they threw the roast beef on the flat top when I ordered in addition to toasting the entire sandwich. In my opinion, these details make the difference in a good sandwich from great sandwich.

For those in the area, I support your decision to make this your local default sandwich spot when you are in the mood for a classic made-to-order sandwich.

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

  • I am in love with this spicy, melted roast beef sandwich.
  • Blue Dog is generous with avocado, and I love avocado on everything.
  • I like the balance they have struck with healthy ingredients and melted cheese.

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

  • This place is trying to be upscale and is just annoying.
  • I am pretty sure these aren’t better than deli sandwiches, and they are way more expensive.
  • With all of the smoothies and juices, I am sure Blue Dog has nothing I will like

Blue Dog, 101 West 25th Street btwn 6th and 7th Avenues, 212-229-9222

1 Comment

  • I never understood the 1/2 sandwich/ soup concept. What happens to the other half of the sandwich if you happen to order a weird combo of ingredients? For $9.50, I should be getting a “whole” sandwich and a soup so that I wouldn’t be hungry afterwards.

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