Astoria is full of delicious food, and one category that is far from lacking is the sandwich. Here are seven particularly scrumptious and unique sandwiches that we can’t get enough of in Astoria.
The Bomb – Sal, Kris, and Charlie’s Deli (Sandwich Kings of Astoria) - This sandwich is unparalleled when it comes to classic NY hero sandwiches. It’s huge, stuffed to the gills with meat (salami, turkey, ham, pepperoni, pastrami) cheese (swiss, provolone, american), and vegetables (tomato, onion, lettuce, roasted red peppers). Spicy peppers can be added for a small charge. And unless you have a gargantuan stomach or a raging appetite, this monster will last you for two meals. Of course, we’re not the first to recognize The Bomb. There is this great bit from Adam Kuban on Serious Eats, “The Bomb is about as long and thick as the forearms of the big guys who are the majority of the clientele here; your fellow patrons are likely to be cops, firefighters, and lineworkers from the nearby ConEd plant—working-class folks who appreciate a great deal and a good sandwich.” Sal, Kris, and Charlie’s Deli, 33-12 23rd Ave., Astoria, NY 11102; (718) 278-9240 (GMAP)
Mozzarella, Tomato Fresca, and Pesto Panino – Il Bambino - This paninoteca serves up some of the best panini in Astoria, and has been a staple in the neighborhood since 2006. The panini menu has changed a bit over the years, and sandwiches have come and gone, but what really stands the test of time is this mozzarella, tomato, and pesto panino. It’s a classic combination of compatible summer flavors, served up on bread that is made especially for Il Bambino. The sandwich is pretty big, but you’ll feel sad when you finish the first half, because only one precious half remains. Il Bambino, 34-08 31st Ave., Astoria, NY 11106; (718) 626-0087 (GMAP)
Merguez Sandwich – Little Morocco - This may be the finest merguez sandwich in all of New York City. It’s absolutely delicious. Made in-house, this spicy lamb sausage is served in a soft hero roll along with vegetables, chopped green olives, and the North African hot sauce called harissa. It’s savory, spicy and a little sweet, and exceedingly easy to eat. Little Morocco, 24-39 Steinway St., Astoria, NY 11103; (718) 204-8118 (GMAP)
Gouda Sandwich – The Queens Kickshaw - This is our favorite sandwich at The Queens Kickshaw, among a family of outstanding bread and cheese combos. Queens Kickshaw is a favorite among Astorians and the city’s food community, winning top grilled cheese by Best of NY. On the gouda sandwich, you get sweet, spicy, tangy, and buttery in one fell swoop, thanks to the combination of guava jam, pickled jalapeños, black bean hummus, and of course, melty gouda cheese. It’s gathered between slices of buttery Balthazar brioche and accompanied by a green salad with a hot pepper vinaigrette. Perfection in action. The Queens Kickshaw, 40-17 Broadway, Astoria, NY 11103; (718) 777-0913 (GMAP)
Slow Baked Chicken Sandwich – Astor Bake Shop - While many go to the Astor Bake Shop for their delicious cakes, tarts, and breakfast pastries, their sandwich menu is also excellent. One of the tastiest options on that menu is their slow baked chicken sandwich. The chicken is flavored with Ras el hanout (a Mediterranean spice blend) and baked, and in the sandwich it is topped with caramelized onions, swiss cheese, and beautiful creamy avocado. Its served on a Portugese or wheat roll baked in house. Astor Bake Shop, 12-23 Astoria Blvd., Astoria, NY 11102; (718) 606-8439 (GMAP)
Pork Gyro – BZ Grill - Walk by this modest eatery, and you’ll see their claim that they serve the best gyro in New York City. Well, we’re here to tell you that it’s likely true. BZ Grill pork gyro is incredible – slow spit roasted pork (actual pork, not pressed meat), so luscious and moist, served on a Greek pita (no pocket) with tomato, lettuce, and tzatziki (AKA “white sauce”). You won’t find a better gyro around, seriously. BZ Grill, 27-02 Astoria Blvd., Astoria, NY 11102; (718) 932-7858 (GMAP)
Grilled Cheese – Sparrow Tavern - When Sparrow first started serving food, it’s a tavern, people were immediately blown away by their grilled cheese sandwich. This was – and is – serious sandwich business. They take fontina and manouri cheese, and combine it with radicchio, herbs, and truffle oil, and it all works exactly as planned. It is served with a fresh side salad. Sparrow Tavern, 24-01 29th St., Astoria, NY 11102; (718) 606-2260 (GMAP)
Meg Cotner is a food writer in Astoria, Queens. She is an expert on the borough’s best bites, and the author of the upcoming book Food Lovers’ Guide to Queens. Meg also writes for the neighborhood blog We Heart Astoria and her own food blog, Harmonious Belly.