The ML Guide to Toasties (From A Guy Who’s Eaten Every Single Sandwich at Toasties)
Yes, you read that correctly. I have eaten every single sandwich on the Toasties menu (and then some). Some Midtown Lunch readers may brush Toasties off as another generic deli, but I beg to differ. My home location, at 51st street and Madison, may be connected to my office building, and I may not even have to step outside to go there, but that’s not why I eat at Toasties. There’s a reason why they’ve got locations all over midtown and there’s a reason why you’ll see any given Toasties packed during lunch hours. They make great sandwiches – trust me, I’ve tried them all.
I don’t get the haters. The ingredients are real and fresh, the sandwiches are huge and reasonably priced, the menu is loaded with unique options, and the people prepping the food are always happy to accommodate custom orders. I’ll admit, I’ve had the occasional poorly constructed Toasties sandwich, but given the crazy amount of rush hour business they get, and the fact that there are minimum ten different guys making the food during lunch hours, of course there’s going to be some inconsistency. But if you order the right sandwich, and that sandwich is made with the right amount of love, you’re in for a real treat.
A look at practically every single Toasties sandwich after the jump…
The sandwich menu is basically categorized by the type of meat (e.g. grilled chicken sandwiches, roast beef sandwiches, tuna/chicken salad sandwiches, vegetarian sandwiches, etc.) Most selections, on a roll or sliced bread, will cost you $7.25 pre-tax, a hero, wrap or pita will run you a dollar more. After eating 65+ sandwiches from Toasties over the past year, roughly 6% of all my meals, I’m not going to say everything there is great. There are some things Toasties does well and there are some things they don’t. For instance, you’re generally going to want to avoid the saucy sandwiches (anything with barbecue, teriyaki, etc.). These ones get messy real fast. In my opinion, the chicken cutlet and roast beef sandwiches are two of the stronger sections of the menu, though I have favorites scattered throughout. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some highlights!
White Collar Philly – This one’s got roast beef, mozzarella, grilled onions, and roasted red peppers. All of the “philly” style sandwiches feature grilled roast beef, sliced and diced as though it were a cheesesteak. I love the blend of flavors here, though I usually order it with the “herb mayonnaise” so it’s not too dry.
Chicken Cheddar – Just the basics here… chicken cutlet, cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo on a roll. With the fried, juicy cutlet and hot, crispy bacon, there’s not much need for anything else.
Sloop Dan B – Fresh, hot pastrami and turkey breast carved right when you order. The coleslaw adds a nice contrast in texture and temperature. Then there’s pepper jack cheese and Russian dressing to round everything out, mmm.
The Cobb – Definitely my favorite from the grilled chicken options. You can’t go wrong with the bacon and avocado combo. The blue cheese dressing adds a creamy texture throughout and brings the whole thing together.
My Least Favorites
The Energy Wrap – From the breakfast menu, the whole concept of this sandwich kind of weirds me out. It has peanut butter, banana, granola, raisins, walnut and honey. Sounds alright, but the banana is just wrapped whole without being sliced at all. The whole thing is pretty dense and just feels like an odd way to eat a banana.
Eat Your Greens – Maybe it’s the carnivore in me speaking, but why not just eat a leaf or two on some bread?
Chicken Teriyaki – Toasties really doesn’t strike me as the type of place to order any sort of teriyaki from. This is the only sandwich on the menu with teriyaki sauce, and frankly, the sauce is just not that great. The other ingredients are pretty basic, but the sauce is overpowering and gets all over everything, making for a messy and unpleasant experience. The same thing could be said for most of the other sandwiches featuring a heavy sauce in their name (Chipotle Chicken, Barbecue Chicken, etc.)
The “Special” Sandwiches
Opposite the sandwich line, Toasties has a steam table where they serve hot, home-style entrees. There are a handful of regular sandwiches you can order here (the Thanksgiving, Annabel’s Combo, or Spicy Marvin to name a few), but occasionally they’ll take the entrée of the day and make a sandwich out of it. I only see these ones on rare occasions and they can vary in quality.
The Crab Cake Sandwich – A mountain of crab cake with avocado, red onions, lettuce, tomato and chipotle mayo. The crab cake itself is mediocre, but for $8.95, who cares. This one was awesome.
Mexican Pork – Pulled pork with black beans, pico de gallo, and cheese. Toasties doesn’t do much in terms of Mexican food, so none of the ingredients here are particularly remarkable on their own. Together, they’re still not particularly remarkable.
Steak Sandwich – Just look at those colors! This one had sliced steak, cheddar cheese, grilled onions, lettuce, and peppers. The steak was surprisingly moist, making for an excellent sandwich.
The Unexpectedly Terrific Sandwiches
Egg salad – Toasties doesn’t even have a sandwich on the menu with egg salad, so I created my own with bacon, lettuce and tomato. The egg salad was actually some of the best I’ve had in recent history. The egg chunks were large and easily identifiable as egg. If you’re into egg salad, I can’t recommend this enough.
Bacon Egg and Cheese – It’s so hard to find a reasonably priced breakfast sandwich in midtown, but Toasties does a surprisingly decent job. Their $3.00 price tag for one egg, $3.50 for two, is better than most delis in the neighborhood. The default is scrambled, but I always order my egg over easy so I get that yolky goodness all over.
The Coscia – This is the only sandwich on the menu with prosciutto. With fresh mozzarella, romaine lettuce, sun dried tomato pate, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, this guy shines in its simplicity. In a blind taste test, I would have guessed this was from a higher end deli.
Sandwiches Fat People Will Love
The Spicy Marvin – Meatloaf piled high, with pepper jack cheese, bacon, hot peppers and romaine lettuce. The meatloaf is thick and juicy, but the bacon is still able to provide a meaty contrast. Hot peppers are a nice touch, adding just a bit of a kick.
The Birdie – Oh my gosh, the chicken salad here is good (also see The Bird’s Eye). This wrap was packed to the brim with large chunks of gooey chicken, hot bacon, pepper jack cheese, romaine lettuce and tomato. I don’t know of a better chicken salad in midtown.
The Smoked Deluxe – Chicken cutlet fried to perfection, topped off with grilled pastrami and melted mozzarella? Yes please. This meat on meat combo is killer. There’s lettuce and tomato too, but that’s not what this sandwich is about.
The Most Photogenic Sandwiches
For those of you just looking for some sandwich porn
Jimbo – I mean, it’s practically glowing… look! Served cold, ham, gouda cheese, mesclun, tomato and Asian sesame ginger dressing make for a sophisticated combo. This is an excellent variation of the typical ham and cheese and is one of my preferred “lighter” sandwiches on the menu.
Chicken Cordon Bleu – Like the Smoked Deluxe, this is another terrific meat on meat option. Chicken cutlet, honey baked ham, melted mozzarella, grilled onion, lettuce and tomato. So pretty!
The Classic – Grilled chicken, melted mozzarella (yeaaah, look at that cheese spread), grilled onions romaine lettuce, and roasted red peppers. A traditional combo of ingredients makes for a classically beautiful photo.
There you have it – Toasties in a nutshell. I would love to discuss more specifics, but there are just too many sandwiches worth highlighting. Make sure to check out the flickr album to view them all!
Toasties: A Flickr Photo Album
I’ll leave you with some general tips and pointers for eating at Toasties:
- It’s certainly worth the $1 extra for a hero or wrap. These sandwiches are probably about 1.5x bigger.
- The messier sandwiches tend to work best as a wrap. They’re easiest to contain that way.
- Avoid ordering hot sandwiches on toast. The sliced bread usually doesn’t hold up so well.
- Customize sandwiches as you wish. It’s not a problem if you want to swap one cheese for another, request a different condiment, or really just change any part of anything. Order whatever you want, it’s a deli.
- They don’t advertise them much, but ask for a rewards card. Buy nine sandwiches, get one free!
- While you’re at it, ask for a pickle too – no extra charge.
Toasties (Multiple Locations)
- 924 Third Ave (btw 55+56th), 212-888-7893
- 6 E 48th Street (nr 5th Ave), 212-230-1320
- 148 W 49th Street (btw. 6+7th), 212-398-4900
- 23 E 51st Street (btw. Madison+5th), 212-371-7676
- 599 Lexington Ave (nr. 52nd), 212-644-8780