Secret 'Wiches

Go beyond the deli for lunch

The quest for a great sandwich should never stop at your favorite deli.

Izakaya aren't known for their sandwiches, but Nojo is no ordinary izakaya. At the restaurant's lunch service, which relaunched last week, Greg Dunmore makes a katsu sandwich ($10.50) by slicing the crusts off white-bread squares and using them to frame a golden chicken cutlet, shredded cabbage and tonkatsu sauce. It's everything you've always wanted from Wendy's, but better. Nojo, 231 Franklin St. (at Linden St.); 415-896-4587 or nojosf.com

Because Them Ky is a full-service Vietnamese restaurant, not a sandwich shop, the cooks aren't making 60 banh mi an hour. That means they lavish special attention on the sandwich, grilling marinated strips of pork or chicken ($3) to order and heating the roll to its crispest point. There's no fresher example in town. Them Ky, 717 Ellis St. (at Larkin St.); 415-441-8525

Cavernous, pink Palacio Latino is underheralded for its Guatemalan specialties, such as enchiladas chapinas and sopa de gallina. Even less noticed is the sandwich menu taped to the wall. The pan con chile ($4), a soft roll filled with a saucy, beef-stuffed chile relleno, surprised us by becoming our favorite. Palacio Latino, 2240 Mission St. (at 19th St.); 415-626-4879