Who makes the best bread in New York City?
The perennial debate continues at tables across town, with factions evenly split among Balthazar, Sullivan Street and TomCat. But we found an unlikely ringer at City Sandwich, a new shop in Hells Kitchen.
Its bread is made by Portuguese bakers in New Jersey to the exacting standards of Michael Guerrieri, a Naples-born and Long Island-raised chef who spent the last 13 years in Lisbon, home of the original City Sandwich. You can't order the bread by the loaf, but it's bountiful in the sublime sandwiches.
Options fall into three categories--meat, egg and vegetable; Portuguese ingredients such as alheira, morcela and cod pop up in a number of sandwiches ($5 to $9), which Guerrieri named for his dearest friends.
Make sure you introduce yourself to Dave (sausage, broccoli rabe and melted mozzarella), Cornelia (roasted vegetables and rosemary) and Nuno (morcela and collard greens). In keeping with his "eat good, feel good" motto, Guerrieri is holding the mayo permanently, swapping it instead for a yogurt-olive-oil sauce. The results are harmonious fillings within bread that achieves sandwich nirvana: It soaks up the flavors on the inside and keeps a crusty crackle on the outside.
City Sandwich, 649 Ninth Ave.; 646-684-3943 or citysandwich.net