Flatiron Lunch: Bedford Cheese Shop Delivers One Killer Baguette Sandwich a Day

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.

Over the summer, the famous Bedford Cheese of Williamsburg opened a branch in Manhattan on Irving just south of Gramercy Park. I was very excited what this might mean for us Flatiron Lunch’ers.

Unfortunately, they are sticking to the cheese shop basics, albeit an incredibly well stocked cheese shop. (The above shot is just one of the many shelves of condiments to be enjoyed with cheese.) While I am sure the more ambitious and creative readers out there are going to figure out how to make a killer Ploughman’s lunch from Bedford Cheese (especially when the weather is nice enough to eat lunch outside), as far as prepared lunches go, there is one option. One. One sandwich special a day. I didn’t even dare mention it until I had the chance to try it myself, which was a problem because they sell out most days by noon or, if you’re lucky, 1pm.

I finally got my hands on a sandwich, actually two, so here we are: a ML post about a place that makes one sandwich a day. But wait, there’s more! They only make 4 baguettes worth of sandwiches, which comes to only 12 actual sandwiches each day. (Hence, they kept selling out, before I could get there.) And they don’t have plans to make more! Even worse, and all you super price sensitive readers are going to really hate this, it’s $9 a sandwich.

With a carefully curated and top of the line selection of cheeses, meats and condiments at their disposal, I was not surprised how outstanding my speck Americano, pecorino Toscano (sheep’s cheese), scimudin (cow’s cheese), Dijon and hot sauce sandwich tasted. The baguette (I think from Amy’s Bread) was perfectly crispy on the outside and soft inside, but beyond that, each individual ingredient managed to shine through. Maybe I have been brainwashed by reading Edible magazines, but I really believe that food made with integrity and passion can taste superior – which is really what makes so many ML venues delicious.

Move over Subway Sandwich Artists® (I had to Google to see if Subway has the trademark to that term…they do.) I loved hearing that Bedford Cheese has a rule that the employee who physically makes sandwiches gets to decide what goes in it that day, and I think that confidence in employees makes the food taste better. According to one employee, the manager, Nathan, makes some of the more interesting combos. Even though trusting the employees to mix and match a sandwich on their own could lead to some serious stinkers, I would guess the success rate of this format is pretty high.

On my next visit, the sandwich included capicola, graskaas, fig-jam and mayo. (On a side note: it looks like graskaas is a Dutch cheese meaning “grass cheese” made from the milk when the cows first start grazing outdoors in the spring after being indoors for the winter. Apparently only available in the summer, I am not sure about a December graskaas, even though it tasted awesome, but maybe Bedford was aging it in house. Who knows…) This sandwich also had a great balance of flavors. The mayo took the backseat to the fig-jam which was perfect with the capicola and graskaas.

For those big eaters out there, you will probably be very disappointed by the minimalism of the sandwich. For anyone who ever enjoyed a simple baguette sandwich while travelling through France, you might feel a twinge of nostalgia. While hot sauce might not be a traditional French topping, you will find the same judicious use of fillings. I thought there was just enough of each ingredient to taste each in every bite. Will you need to grab a $.99 bag of Herr’s potato chips on the way back to the office? Maybe. But during a time when every office has a rotating cast of Holiday snacks, maybe this subtle lunch is perfect for this over indulgent time of year. I can imagine craving a Bedford Cheese sandwich in spring or summer as well. If I can get my hands on one.

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

  • The ingredients at Bedford Cheese cannot be beat.
  • I wish my job let me be creative and invent a new sandwich every couple days.
  • These sandwiches transport me to France.

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

  • No way this is a ML. $9 for a baguette sandwich? No thanks
  • This sandwich is for those “foodies” who like only what they are told to like.
  • So what do I eat if I am not one of the first 12 people there? A jar of overpriced relish?

Bedford Cheese Shop, 67 Irving Place, between 18th and 19th Streets, (718) 599-7588 or (888) 484-3243

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