Great summer sandwiches in NYC

Winter wants a large sandwich, perhaps filled with meat, or perhaps a warm sandwich that fits in your stomach like a small radiator and warms you. But summer sandwiches are a completely different animal. They should be small and light and easy to hold in one hand. They should stifle hunger but not overwhelm it, leaving you agile on your feet and not bloated.

As part of my ongoing quarterly sandwich collection, I looked for those sandwiches I wanted to eat when the temperature and humidity soared. Here is the collection I assembled, in no particular order of preference.

Check out previous installments in the series: 11 Unexpected Sandwiches, 11 Favorite Hot Parm Heros, 11 Favorite Winter Sandwiches, 11 Favorite Fall Sandwiches, 11 More New York Sandwiches That Are Getting Us Through the Pandemic, 11 Awesome New York Sandwiches who made us overcome the pandemic,


Spinach omelette sandwich at Partners Coffee

Bars are a great place to look for small but nutritious sandwiches, and Partners, with branches in Manhattan and Brooklyn, always have a selection on display. About three inches in diameter, the spinach omelette sandwich ($ 8) comes on a pretzel roll with a wedge of melting cheese on top, and the sandwich proves to be soothing to the stomach at breakfast or lunch.

ADVERTISEMENT

Spinach omelette sandwich from Partners.

ADVERTISEMENT

Salmon brioche at Aux Merveilleux de Fred

Nothing is fresher in the summer than a bright orange slice of seasoned salmon, and it forms the centerpiece of the selection of sandwiches at this arcane French bakery in the West Village. Brioche is the perfect summer bun, and this bun ($ 8.50) is made using only half of one. Plus, it is smeared with cream cheese, itself a refreshing substance, slices of cucumber (never heard the expression “fresh as a cucumber”) are added, along with dill fronds, for the ultimate in green and summer flavor. 37 8th Avenue, between Jane and West 4th Street, West Village

A sandwich cut in half with oozing salmon, cukes and cream cheese.

Salmon brioche at Aux Merveilleux de Fred.
Robert Sietsema / NY Eater


Asparagus sandwich with Bread & Salt

In the summer, vegetable sandwiches become more palatable, not only because they represent fewer calories and less fat, but because vegetables are often currently in season and at the peak of their flavor. Asparagus, with its distinctive earthy flavor, makes a great firm sandwich, though tall veggies are rarely exploited this way ($ 11). (While asparagus likely won’t be available, consider whatever vegetables are on the menu.) 435 Palisade Avenue, between Griffith and Hutton Streets, Jersey City

A baguette held forward by two hands with the asparagus sticking out of the grill.

Bread and salt asparagus sandwich.


Levain cheese roll from Fabrique

With its freshly baked breads, a bakery is a great place to look for a sandwich, because great bread must always be the starting point for a great sandwich. The Levain sourdough roll at this Swedish bakery is already awesome, but smeared in butter and piled with a modest amount of aged cheddar, lettuce, and tomato, this solid hit sets the stage for a home run ($ 7.25). 348 West 14th Street, between 7th and 8th avenue, West Village

A small brown roll with cheese, lettuce and tomato on an aquamarine plate.

Levain cheese roll from Fabrique.


Bread with mortadella at Bica Cafe

Summer is for grilling, even if what you’re grilling is this Brazilian version of mortadella. The cooking method gives it a light smoky flavor and an almost crunchy char. Kept small, the sandwich ($ 18) is still rich, richness enhanced with a single slice of cheddar and a sprinkle of garlic aioli. Other Brazilian-Portuguese Bica sandwiches (a small shop implanted in the Ipanema restaurant) are equally modest in size, easy to hold and eat. 3 West 36th Street, between 5th and 6th avenue, Midtown

A long sandwich with grilled meat on it.

Bread with mortadella alla Bica.


Chicken schnitzel on a roll at Frank’s Luncheonette

Located just above the rattling F tracks as they plunge underground into Carroll Gardens, Frank’s Luncheonette is one of the few of its kind left, preparing breakfast and lunch dishes in a rustic setting reminiscent of the 1940s, only to die off in the mid-afternoon . Food is often spectacular in an easy way, and it’s one of the few places you can scale your hero sandwich. So a chicken cutlet comes on a kaiser roll with the usual melted tomato and mozzarella sauce, with about one-third the weight and volume of your average hero ($ 8). 365 Smith Street, between 2nd and 3rd streets, Carroll Gardens

A roll with a crumbled cutlet, cheese and tomato sauce oozing from the surface of the cut.

Chicken schnitzel on a roll at Frank’s Luncheonette.


Falafel manousheh in Manousheh

Let’s face it, falafel sandwiches are considered a healthy vegan option, but they’re also a bit heavy and greasy for summer consumption. This solution from a prominent Lebanese bakery is to turn the falafel mix into a batter and paint the inside of a flatbread with it. Baked and rolled, the sandwich ($ 10) is further enhanced with tomato, mint, and toum, the whipped white garlic dressing. 193 Bleecker Street, between 6th Avenue and MacDougal Street, Greenwich Village

A rolled flatbread opens to show a greenish stain and some vegetables inside.

Falafel manousheh in Manousheh.
Robert Sietsema / NY Eater


Ham and Swiss at Abingdon Market

First, you need to find a deli that doesn’t overfill its sandwiches. There is something noble about eating a sandwich the way it was invented, like a portable hunger stopper. The ham and Swiss sandwich has remained much as it was a century ago: two small pieces of bread, a few slices of ham and fewer slices of cheese, perhaps with lettuce and tomato if you want to indulge yourself. Mustard or mayonnaise are optional. The slender bun doesn’t weigh you down and you can eat it with one hand as you walk. 1 Abingdon Square, Bleecker Street, West Village

A modest sandwich wrapped in a plastic container.

Ham and Swiss: don’t forget to recycle plastic.


Caprese sandwich at Le Fournil

This French bakery assembles a series of sandwiches on its famous baguettes and sandwiches, displayed in a glass case to the right of the sales counter. They are perfect to grab and eat at very Parisian outdoor tables or taken to nearby Tompkins Square. Caprese is in many ways the best, a transformation of the classic salad of ripe tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, enhanced with the addition of pesto. Nothing could be more summery ($ 9). 115 2nd Avenue to 7th Street, East Village

A round sandwich with tomatoes and mozzarella visible, on a wooden table eaten outdoors.

Caprese sandwich at Le Fournil.