The Epic Sandwich David Chang Likens To A Star Wars Vessel

Ask any street food vendor or mom-and-pop eatery, and they'll gladly tell you the truth: The best meals aren't always fancy. Michelin-starred Chef David Chang knows this. As he told Eater's podcast "The Upsell," when he walks into a diner, his go-to order is a patty melt on rye with American cheese. But perhaps unsurprisingly for the world-renowned chef, there's only one patty melt that can satisfy his craving. "Every time I go to a diner — and people don't realize how often I eat at diners — I always get the patty melt, and I'm always disappointed because it's not a Cassell's patty melt. It makes me sad." For Chang, it's all about this Downtown Los Angeles burger joint (there's also a location in K-Town). 

What makes it so special? According to Cassell's website, the patty melt is seven ounces of ground beef with cheese and grilled onions, cooked to temperature, for $17.50. Chang elaborates more on another podcast, this time Joe House's "House of Carbs." Quoth the chef, "They have the amazing, like, sweet mustard sauce. They have the cheese wings. They griddle the cheese, [Joe], in a way that you have the sandwich, and then you have, like, six inches to the left and to the right of griddled cheese that's just like, it's like a T-wing — a 'Star Wars' T-wing of a sandwich."

Fasten your seatbelt for a patty melt

The intergalactic spacecraft to which Chang referred is the R60 T-wing interceptor, which was flown by the Rebel Alliance (the good guys). Not only does this reference demonstrate impressive, deep knowledge of the "Star Wars" universe and its lore (the T-wing is one of the far lesser-known ships, compared to the Millennium Falcon or the Death Star), but it also paints a pretty vivid picture of the sandwich. A savory patty melt is a thing of beauty on its own, but flanked by two griddled cheese wings, the otherwise humble sandwich takes flight (pun intended).

The legendary pork bun master loves Cassell's patty melt so much, in fact, that he says he wishes he had come up with it himself. As Chang raves to the Upsell, "It's the f***ing best. I cannot. I want to put patty melts on the menu at the restaurants, but I don't want the people at Cassell's to be like, 'Well, you just stole our sh*t.' Because I only want to do homage to what they've done. It's just one of the best g*****n things you could eat anywhere." Chang may be the leader of the Momofuku empire, but unlike Emperor Palpatine or Kylo Ren, Chang's dominion is all about the good stuff (namely, a killer meal).