Eggplant, Chickpeas & Meat Make A Successful Sandwich At Pane Panelle

Pane Panelle opened last September as a sandwich counter offshoot of the nicer Italian restaurant Stuzzicheria on Church St. (at Walker). Then the whole restaurant became a bit more casual and although the separate entrance for sandwiches remain, the day I went there you had to order yours at the bar so the restaurant and sandwich shop seem to have absorbed each other. The sandwiches were tasty enough, but the size-to-price ratio seemed to be skewed the wrong way and I haven’t been back since then. The other day I was in the area and the place I intended to eat at wasn’t open so instead I headed over to Pane Panelle to give them a second shot and see if the sandwiches had changed since that opening visit.

Previously, I’d sampled the vastedda, aka beef tongue, and the namesake pane panelle sandwich which was chickpea fritters and cheese. They were OK, but the prices were a bit high for what I got, I thought. This time I opted for the melanzane e panelle ($9) with fried eggplant, chickpea fritters, mortadella and pecorino.

It’s a balanced sandwich, and was tasty enough (or hungry enough) that I devoured it. The size on these things hasn’t changed, so they’re still on the small side, but it made for a nice meal on a disgustingly-hot day. The sandwiches still come with a little cup of eggplant caponata which was good, but seemed more oily this time around.

This was a good, salty little sandwich but I still feel like if I’m paying $9 (or nearly $10 with tax) there should be more to it. I guess if I want a fried eggplant gut bomb I should just eat a parm sandwich from a pizza place.

Pane Panelle, 305 Church St. (at Walker), (212) 219-4037



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