I have a theory that if a sandwich possesses a name – The Godfather, the Costanza, The Dagwood, etc., – it is surely worth eating. It seems inconceivable that someone would take the time to name a sandwich that was not worthy. Naming is an act of love. So there was not much thought needed this weekend at Court Street Grocers when I spied Little Shonda on the menu.And if the name didn’t get me, the ingredients list did: Eggs, pastrami, swiss, pickled green tomatoes, and Lincoln administration favorite Durkee’s famous sauce on toasted pumpernickel. If the person who came up with this combination did not twist the ends of their moustache in devilish glee, I’d be very surprised. The pastrami was salty and tender, the eggs were fluffy, and the briny tang of the tomatoes provided an amazing balance to the fatty deliciousness of of the meat and sauce. Unique and utterly devourable. I metaphorically was licking my fingers after I finished the sandwich. Yes… metaphorically. It rocked so much I really want to declare this thing the winner of our contest. A round of applause for Little Shonda, and hats off to Court Street Grocers! I think this contest is officially a wrap.
The Great Breakfast Sandwich Smackdown is underway and already the competition is getting fierce. According to our incredibly willing and highly reliable taste tester (me) a very serious contender for the title can be found at the East Village outpost of Back Forty. The Housemade English Muffin Sandwich is the brainchild of chef/locavore Peter Hoffman who was an early pioneer of the farm-to-table concept at the (sadly) now shuttered Savoy.
This incarnation of the brunch staple consists of what I consider to be the four basic food groups: bread, eggs, cheese and, of course, bacon. Oh, and with a little bit of honey butter to round things out. The sandwich is served open faced, and, at first glance, you might wince at the sight of two (only two??) small pieces of bacon. But fear not my porcine, I mean, pork loving, friends. You will not be disappointed. Upon assembly (i.e. delicately smashing the two halves of English muffin together) the perfectly prepared, over easy egg erupts into a yolky volcanic dream. The texture of the housemade muffin, with its crisp cornmeal crusted outside and soft, spongy inside, is the perfect complement to the crisp strips of bacon and it does a fantastic cleanup job on the egg that runneth over.I’ve been to Back Forty twice in the last month for one of these bad boys. You know, just for the sake of the accuracy of this review. I may not be ready to declare it the ultimate winner just yet, but I will say it’s neck in neck with the current frontrunner. Four out of five eggs.
The Great Breakfast Sandwich Smackdown has barely even started, but we are here to declare the sure loser: the sausage, egg and cheese biscuit (or any other breakfast sandwich) from McDonald’s. You see, every other sandwich that graces this smackdown will be crafted using the finest of ingedients…fresh wood-fired rolls or croissants, homemade sausage from grass-fed pigs, artisanal cheeses from every corner of the globe, free-range chicken eggs layed in heated coops…you get the picture.This little treasure from Mickey D’s is constructed using a greasy mass-produced confection some people call a biscuit, a folded-up egg blanket, a 174-calorie-17-grams-o-blubber sausage patty and that fantastically processed slice of good old-fashioned American cheese. It simply cannot compete. But, our little black sheep has something special going for it that we can’t quite put our finger on. It may be the sprinkle of fairy dust that the ghoulish mean man behind a big door applies before each fixin’ is shipped. Or maybe it’s the time you’ll save by consuming 56% of the recommended daily allowance of fat in just one sitting. We’re not sure, but we do know that every now and then a wild urge wells up deep inside and the need to consume one of these with a crispy hashbrown and icy Coke trumps all common sense. We’ll be hungry in an hour. All hail the loser!
I love a breakfast sandwich. Egg, meat, cheese, roll: so simple, so delicious. Raise your hand if the $3.50 corner deli-variety of bacon/egg/cheese on a Kaiser got you through the rugged alcohol-soaked mornings of your mid-twenties. Raise ‘em high! It is with this reverence that we at On the Real announce our hunt for New York’s greatest breakfast sandwich, or ”The Great Breakfast Sandwich Smackdown.” You’ve already heard about the fantastically diabolical Breakfast Burger from Mile End. Next up: an entry from newcomer Smith Canteen, in Carroll Gardens.Born from the same culinary minds that created the refined southern delight Seersucker, the foodie folks at Smith Canteen offer up Berkshire ham, organic eggs and NY Cheddar on an everything croissant. The ham is thick, salty and delicious, the cheddar is flavorful and gooey, the eggs are fluffy… but what really puts this over the top is the everything croissant. Buttery, flakey, and with the savory crunch of your favorite everything toppings. The croissant is pure genius. I’d be hard pressed to think of something that would not be improved by sticking it in this croissant. Is this the best breakfast sandwich in the city? I’ll give it 4 out of 5 eggs.