If we could have lunch with one person, it would be John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich. We just want to vigorously shake his hand and thank him many times over for his most wonderful of inventions. Since he created the sandwich in the 18th century, it has gone on to become so much more than he could have possibly imagined. So, in honor of National Sandwich Day, we’re celebrating 10 stellar sandos that the Earl would surely have approved of.
Milanesa de Pollo con Chipotle at Oyamel, Washington, D.C.
The Italian classic has been adapted to become a Latin American favorite. At José Andrés’ Mexican restaurant the dish is served as a torta (sandwich) inside a crusty telera roll. Crispy breaded chicken breast gets topped off with black beans, Oaxacan cheese, half moons of creamy avocado, fresh cilantro, and chipotle mole. Make a reservation at Oyamel.
Fried Fish Sandwich at Crave Fishbar, New York, New York
Spiny dogfish sounds dangerous, but it’s delicious. The mild white fish gets battered and flash fried until golden. It’s graced with tartar sauce, pickles, and shredded lettuce before being shoehorned into a housemade potato roll. Make a reservation at Crave Fishbar.
Crispy Pork Belly Torta at Bodega Negra, New York, New York
We imagine this is what lucky Mexican vaqueros (cowboys) eat after a long day herding cattle and looking heroic as they ride into the sunset. The substantial sandwich is packed with pork belly, refried beans, and Oaxacan cheese. Plus a fried egg, just for good measure. Make a reservation at Bodega Negra.
The Chivito at Del Campo, Washington, D.C.
You’d better be hungry if you plan on finishing the epic ‘wich in a single sitting. Chef-owner Victor Albisu’s spin on the Uruguayan favorite is filled with rib eye, mortadella, ham, olives, heart of palm, and a fried egg. There’s no shame if you end up having to ask for a doggie bag because it works well as a midnight snack or as breakfast the morning after. Make a reservation at Del Campo.
Fried Chicken Sandwich at Fixe, Austin, Texas
Not all fried chicken is created equal. The cluckers here are brined in hot sauce, buttermilk, and pickle juice before they’re breaded in a unique mixture that includes dried sunchoke skins ground into flour. The crispy poultry is served with sweet tea pickles on a housemade sunchoke and benne seed roll slathered with chicken fat enhanced mayo. Make a reservation at Fixe.
Duck Duck Mi at Morimoto, New York, New York
This sandwich is ducking awesome. Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s superior sando features duck leg confit and duck liver pate. To liven it up, he adds sweet hoisin sauce with a little funk and fresh cilantro. The plate is filled out with soy salt and vinegar Japanese sweet potato chips and seasonal pickles. Make a reservation at Morimoto.
Fried Chicken and Waffle Sandwich at Root & Bone, New York, New York
Chicken and waffles are transformed into a handy dandy sandy (sorry, couldn’t resist). A pair of hearty buckwheat waffles holds sweet tea brined fried chicken dusted with dehydrated lemon powder, melted cheddar, and a drizzle of whiskey maple syrup. The results are savory with a sweet edge. Make a reservation at Root & Bone.
Not Your Average Grilled Cheese at Pazzo Ristorante, Portland, Oregon
There is nothing average about this grilled cheese. First of all, it comes on house-made beer bread. Second of all, it’s made with gooey fontina cheese, quince pâté, roasted butternut squash, and black truffle mayonnaise. #Winning. Make a reservation at Pazzo Ristorante.
SoCal Crab Club at Sally’s Fish House & Bar, San Diego, California
Get your claws out. This ‘wich stars a fried soft shell crab complemented with king crab salad, avocado, bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Think of it as a BLT by way of the sea. Make a reservation at Sally’s Fish House & Bar.
Open-Faced Pan Con Tomate Sandwich at Vandal in New York, New York
Sometimes simple is best. Served open-faced on strips of crunchy bread, the sandwich only sports tomato, a bit of burrata, and rolls of Iberico ham. Swiney, sweet, salty, and savory, it’s perfect for sharing – though we won’t judge you if you hoard it all for yourself. Make a reservation at Vandal.
Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell and Instagram @nevinmartell.
Photo credits: Brandon Schulman (Root & Bone); Claire Hogan (Fixe); Greg Powers (Del Campo); Crave Fishbar (Crave Fishbar).