Has anyone else noticed that we are in kind of a Golden Age of sandwiches? There are yummy sandwiches to be found in every kind of food establishment there is, from four star restaurants to lobster shacks to food carts. At Serious Eats we decided that it's high time we celebrate the sandwich. So periodically, with any luck twice weekly, we are going to rhapsodize about some sandwich found anywhere in the world. We might opine in a way that some of you might find objectionable, but at least you'll know where we're coming from, a deep and abiding love of sandwiches.
Today, I would like to rhapsodize about the Cubano Sandwich at the Spotted Pig in NYC.
The Spotted Pig Cubano is the best in the city and maybe the world. The Balthazar roll is crunchy and yeasty; chef-partner April Bloomfield uses heritage pork shoulder to sublime effect by brining it for three days, slow-roasting it, and then cooking it in duck and pork fat; the pickled jalapeno peppers add just the right amount of heat; Prosciutto de Parma or speck (smoked prosciutto) is a better quality ham than you will find in any other Cubano around the city; and the aged gruyere lends the whole thing a deeply funky flavor. How a British chef who worked at the very Italian River Cafe in London manages to produce the best Cuban sandwich I'll never know.
I know Cubano sandwich purists are going to be all over me about this selection. When I posted about this on Ed Levine Eats, a reader took umbrage and told me to go immediately to Miami and go to one of Casa Larios 'three locations, or I could just stay in NY and go to El Castillo de Jagua on Rivington Street. And I have had many great Cuban sandwiches in this land of ours, in Miami and Los Angeles at Versailles (unrelated), and in New York at El Sitio in Woodside, Queens.
Nonetheless, I stand by my conviction that in terms of sheer deliciousness and Cuban sandwich pleasure, nothing beats the Cubano at the Spotted Pig. I know it's not classically speaking a Cuban, maybe April should call it something else, but it is at the top of the Cuban Sandwich food chain.
You have to go to the Spotted Pig for lunch during the week to get the Cubano, because that's the only time it's on the menu. But the SP is infinitely quieter and more comfortable at lunch, anyway. In fact, it's downright laid-back
The Spotted Pig
Address: 314 West 11th Street, New York NY 10014