One of the traditional Italian staples at Centro Ristorante in Chicago’s River North neighborhood is the Rosebud meatball sandwich. Three hand-rolled Rosebud meatballs, comprising prime beef, fresh herbs, and a blend of imported Parmesan-Reggiano and pecorino Romano cheeses, are cooked in house-made marinara sauce and topped with fresh mozzarella before being baked in a crispy baguette.
Flour Bakery + Café
Flour Bakery + Café, chef/owner Joanne Chang’s most popular sandwich creation starts with house-made focaccia bread, either white or wheat. Avocado that’s been mashed with lime, red onion, chipotle, cilantro, and salt and pepper is spread on both sides of the bread. Then come mesclun greens, thinly sliced chicken that’s been marinated overnight in achiote paste and slow-roasted, and jicama that’s been julienned and tossed with lime juice, lime zest, and honey.
The hot capicola sandwich at Giordano Bros. starts with slices of pillowy Italian bread from the Italian French Bakery, between which the Jordans and their team load hot capicola from Molinari’s, peppery coleslaw comprising fresh ingredients from Bob Sbragia Produce, and crispy French fries — yes, you read that correctly: the fries are in the sandwich. It’s an impressive, belt-bursting take on an American gastronomic staple.
The Juban starts with a toasted sub roll, which is layered with yellow mustard and pickles on the bottom half. Atop that goes hot maple-smoked Canadian ham and house-steamed pastrami from a smokehouse in the Bronx, and then it’s topped with Swiss cheese. After a run through the panini press, the cheese is melty, the bread is crispy, and the sandwich is just about perfect (especially with a New York half-sour pickle on the side). Who needs roast pork when you’ve got pastrami?
Amused on New York’s Upper West Side is turnout out a fun take on the grilled cheese, courtesy of chef and co-owner Stella Ballarini. Ballarini’s s’mores grilled cheese embodies a playful marriage of sweet and savory flavors. Instead of marshmallow, the chef layers mascarpone cheese and Nutella between pieces of toasted rustic bread, all of which is then sprinkled with graham cracker dust.
This sandwich, from Austin's Noble Sandwich Company, is a work of art. Start with the bread. It’s your choice of white or wheat, made fresh in-house. It gets a light layer of whole-grain mustard and aioli, both also made in-house. Some bacon, cured in-house for five days (sense a trend?), is then added, then topped with a little pulled pork that’s slow-roasted overnight. Then the real star of the show is added: house-cured ham, rubbed in ancho chile, dried chile flakes, sugar, salt, and pepper and brined for six days before being baked and sliced paper thin. Finally, the top slice of bread. This sandwich is a beauty, one of the country’s finest homages to, well, the noble pig.
In San Francisco, Parisian chef Nicolas Ronan of Bisou Bistronomy has begun serving an escargot burger. Served on a mini sesame bun, the univalve patty is garnished with parsley aïoli coleslaw, tomato, caramelized shallots, and smoked xeres sauce, the combination of which encapsulates all the signature flavors found in a classic escargot dish into a bite-sized burger.