Untamed Sandwiches Unleashes Braised Meats on Midtown

When Sarah announced the upcoming opening of Untamed Sandwiches on 39th, it generated quite a bit of hype. The prospect of a Midtown establishment serving up delicious sandwiches with a selection of braised meats sounded almost too good to be true. I certainly wouldn’t refer to Midtown as the Mecca for delicious or inventive sandwiches, so Untamed Sandwiches was fulfilling a necessary gap. I set a reminder on my phone, so I could get there Day 1 and try it out. I apologize in advance for what can certainly be considered a more comprehensive much longer review, but there was a lot to be said for Untamed Sandwich.

That morning, I found myself on the Untamed website planning my course of attack. I decided to try The Butt and a side of their roasted baby carrots. I felt like this was a good starting place, and would guarantee that I was more than full when I got back onto my computer to write the review. Untamed was only a short walk from my office, and is just a few doors down from Kati Roll. The interior is really nice, and I think it’s laid out in a pretty efficient manner.

I stepped up to the register, and before I could place my order, I was informed that they were only accepting cash today. Uh oh, that’s a serious problem for me. Fortunately, I looked into my wallet to see $12. This wouldn’t be enough to get my side order, but it was just barely enough to order The Butt (with 2 cents leftover). The cashier assured me the machines we would be up and running in a few hours, which was of little help to me at the time. I stepped aside and watched as the employees put together my sandwich.

Arriving back at my office, I sat down and opened up the sandwich. First impressions – it looks like a mini sandwich. I had watched orders being served in the store, and the sandwiches looked small, but not like this. I presume the tight wrapping had condensed the sandwich to some extent, but the sandwich felt heavy in my hands, so I looked past the initially small serving size.

The Butt is cider braised pork butt, broccoli rabe, pepper jelly, dijon mustard and sharp cheddar. I dug right in and my first thought was a reminder of something I’ve said in the past – I hate broccoli rabe on a sandwich. I know this might be a controversial opinion, but every bite of this sandwich requires either a battle between the gnawing ability of my teeth and the broccoli or a long piece of broccoli rabe being pulled out of the sandwich along with much of the sandwich itself. Putting that aside, the tastes that really stood out to me were everything but the cider braised pork. The combination of broccoli rabe, pepper jelly, and dijon mustard make for an extremely strong flavor which, in my opinion, completely and utterly over-powered the best part of the sandwich – the pork. As the broccoli rabe pulled pieces of the cider braised pork out of the sandwich, I would pick them up and eat them alone. The pork was delicious, packed with flavor and delightfully moist.

Put simply, I found The Butt disappointing. This was a real letdown. Untamed Sandwich was the chosen one, arriving in Midtown with fine braised meats and a stamp of approval from Sarah. I spent the next few hours trying to see where it all went wrong. Was it me? Was I just too soft to enjoy the powerful flavors delivered by The Butt? Was I destined to settle for sandwich mediocrity for the rest of my career? I decided that I wouldn’t let this single experience shape my view of Untamed Sandwich, and I owed it another chance to win back my heart.

Day 2 (The following day)

Determined to find something I liked at Untamed, I convinced my office eating companion to join me on my now second trip to Untamed. He would order the General Zapata and I would order the Hot Goldie so we could go halfsies. Arriving at Untamed, we were greeted with a small note on the front door, “Cash Only Today”. Obviously I didn’t prepare for the fact that the card machines would still be broken, so a quick trip to an ATM in a nearby pharmacy and a $1.75 surcharge fee later and I was back at Untamed.

Unlike the day before, the line this time was long and was not moving quickly but we pressed on. Strapped with cash, I was also able to order the roasted baby carrots which, with the sandwich, came to $16.33. My coworker’s order was called 3-4 minutes before my order, despite the fact that he placed his order immediately after me. Once I got my order, it took me a few minutes to realize they had forgotten my carrots, so I was back at Untamed once again. Seeing as Untamed is only a few days old, I can completely understand having to work out a few kinks.

Back at the office, I dug into the General Zapata first and I was very pleased. I found the combination between the Chicken Tinga and queso fresco to work very well, and was accompanied nicely by the pickled onions, cilantro and radishes.

The General Zapata was far more my speed, and contrary to The Butt, I didn’t find any of the ingredients to be overpowering. Once that had been devoured, I moved onto the Hot Goldie which features grass-fed beef brisket, red onions, sweet & sour cabbage, and a black pepper aioli.

The brisket was very succulent and the sweet & sour cabbage had a strong flavor, but not enough to overpower the flavor of the brisket. The red onions gave it a nice crunch, and the black pepper aioli did exactly what you would imagine – provided a nice peppery flavor to the brisket and cabbage. Overall, I found the Hot Goldie and General Zapata to be far more complete and balanced sandwiches than The Butt.

It’s also worth mentioning that the bread on all of the sandwiches I tried was excellent. It was the perfect blend between crispy and soft, allowing the juices from the meat to penetrate the inner bread without causing the outside to get soggy. Had I allowed my sandwiches to sit any longer, I feel like the bread would have started to fall apart. I could see Untamed posting some sort of Xi’an Famous Foods type warning, suggesting their sandwiches be eaten as quickly as possible.

In addition to the sandwiches, we also tried the roasted baby carrots and Grumpy’s Chili. The roasted carrots were a great side, it came with a pretty hefty portion and they are coated in the delicious Charmoula (or Chermoula) marinade.

For only $4, I thought this was a great deal. Granted, if you pair this with a sandwich, you’ll find yourself far over the ML Limit but it really seemed like a bargain compared to the $6 for Grumpy’s Chili.

So in the end, Untamed Sandwich, when given a second chance, had redeemed itself. Both of the sandwiches I had on Day 2 were very good and I really enjoyed my side of baby carrots. Now, having said that, I still think Untamed is a little expensive. There are plenty of people who can get a $10 sandwich from Untamed and be perfectly full for lunch. However, for those of us constantly fighting on the front lines in the struggle to find balance between quantity and quality, Untamed clearly strives to please more in the way of quality than they do quantity. Regardless, Untamed is here to stay and will remain a popular stop for Midtown Lunchers looking to satisfy their appetite for something unique. Finally, I am extremely excited to see what kind of changes the Untamed team make to the menu and what kind of new meats they bring to the table.

Untamed Sandwiches, 43 West 39th Street (btw. 5+6th) 646-669-9397


  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    More than $10 for a sandwich the size of two Metrocards is an automatic failure, regardless of what is on it.

  • I cannot lie, I prefer big Butts

    • I’d like a Big Butt and I cannot lie
      My luncher brothers can’t deny
      When Untamed serves you that itty bitty taste
      Get a sad look on your face
      You’re hungry – but put away your bucks
      ‘Cause that buttwich is NOT stuffed

      At a 2-Metrocard ‘wich I’m staring
      So tiny I can’t stop glarin’
      Had to zoom my camera close up with ya
      Just to get a picture
      Midtown Lunch tried to warn me
      Unless you’re Sarah a side of carrots won’t get you horny

      So, Lunchers! (Yeah!) Lunchers! (Yeah!)
      Can you afford $12 for the Butt? (Hell NO!)
      Take your head and shake it! (Shake it!) Shake it! (Shake it!)
      Gotta say NO to the Butt!

  • p p p p p p pisillos! beat box style….

  • This is still NOT a Midtown Lunch! I thought you had a giant metro card in that second picture. Small overpriced “gourmet” sandwiches that run to $16 with a small side runs totally against the whole ML philosophy that this site was founded on. If Zach had finally succumbed to a huge mound of bacon-and-pork-belly-filled noodle-heaped asian/mexican/bbq gutbomb deliciousness (I’m glad he hasn’t!), he’d be rolling in his grave.

    Really, this is MIDTOWN LUNCH fer chrissake! Please focus on the real midtown lunches, and not these overpriced trendy sandwich places that can’t fill you up for under $10 and happen to be owned by a friend of a writer. I’d rather see reviews of generic delis–most of them have at least some redeeming lunch options.

    • I can’t say I totally disagree with all of your points. However, I should point out a few things:

      1. I have absolutely zero relation to Untamed Sandwiches whatsoever.

      2. Not to defend the size, but the picture really does make the MetroCard look enormous. Here is another picture, w/ MetroCard, for scale:

      The Butt: Pt 2

      3. Despite their size, the sandwiches were relatively filling. And this is coming from someone who typically eats three 99 cent slices for lunch.

      4. Untamed does offer two sandwiches at $9, both vegetarian. So that’s one option for keeping it under the ML limit!

      • You understand where the point responded to in #1 came from. I don’t doubt your #2 and #3, but I know #4 is presented facetiously. “Look guys! We offer two sandwiches which have nothing to do with our name and mission that aren’t as expensive!”

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    This website went to crap a couple of years ago.

    I still do check it out for the bit of news, but nothing really works.

    Not the forums, not the work safe twitter tracker.

    Plus the articles just cover generic delis and overpriced trendy lunches, as StevenP has said.

    It has completely lost it way.

    • Don’t forget to mention the ungodly obsession with salads, kale & quinoa and the dropping of the pub report.

      It’s like the PC police tortured Zach with a chamomile enema and made him give a vegan salute before a statue of Morrissey

    • The map stopped working too

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I have to agree with the rest of the commenters. This blog isn’t SeriousEats, Chowhound, or any old food review site, it’s MidtownLunch. The entire premise was, supposed, to be about finding a good lunch under $10 that wasn’t in a generic deli. I understand that this place is new and I don’t mind seeing reviews such as this, but at the end of the day I feel that, normally, this wouldn’t have qualified as a midtown lunch.

    I understand that they use local ingredients and that’s great, I appreciate that. Yet, it seems like they just got free publicity for being friends with a contributor. I would hate to see it come to a point where contributors with more friends in the restaurant industry getting other contributors to do reviews for their friends’ restaurants as well.

  • Even though ML has drifted from its “Mission Statement” I think it’s still valuable to read reviews that fall “out of bounds” or “out of price range” To the midtown luncher..information is power. Also.. I’d say that the stock of available lunches under $10 is proportionally less than when this site began operations.

    • Those under-$10 lunches are out there. Even if they’re not being covered here, sadly. For one example, for Flatiron Lunch (I think; just below midtown @30th/5th), you can get a tender roasted half-chicken with 2 sides and soda, a made-to-order pasta plate with choice of sauce and 3-4 add-ins incl. meat, or a big and acceptable bulgogi bibimbap, each for under $7 at Cafe Au Bon Gout. Why isn’t this stuff being covered by ML anymore?

  • I think this place needs some new offensive reviews to attract readers! Time to hire Goats! And for the record, I do keep finding hidden gems. Pisillos is all ML for me! Thanks ML!

    • pis·illo [pi-sillow] noun
      1525–35; < Italian, diminutive
      an agile, hollow-horned goat of the genus Capra, of the family Bovidae, with a large appetite and a small penis

      well, that explains everything

    • Isn’t Pisillo completely out of ML price range, save some vegetarian options, and also a Downtown Lunch?

      • Wayne: stop dreaming about my pisillo! So f’ing G!
        Dave: Technically yes–with tax, but it’s well worth it!You would very much enjoy!

  • the midtown lunch shark-jumping continues unabated…I haven’t found a useful post here in years. As for these untamed sangwiches, for $13 or $3 those things look NAS-TY!

  • Thinking maybe the LA section would be in a better state with Zach’s involvement, I clicked over to check it out. No forums or twitter tracker there either, but the map works. Not sure anyone is reading it though; the newest comment is from Jan 24, by Wayne.

  • I thought Rudy was the messiah

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Did someone say offensive?

    Did I miss anything?

    What happen to the parade of clavicles on Tuesday?

    So many questions, so few answers.

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