Obviously, Josh Ozersky’s true legacy lies in his substantial body of written work. But less literary monuments are beginning to pop up. First, there was the Portland park bench, then the announcement that his Meatopia festival would be continuing. And now the Torrisi boys have created a sandwich in his honor at the partly-opened Parm in Battery Park City’s Brookfield Place.
The sandwich, dubbed The Ozersky, is available on a roll ($10) or as a hero ($14). It is said to have been inspired by the famous roast beef and "mutz" (aka mozzarella) hero at Fiore’s House of Quality in Hoboken, NJ. I ordered one soon after the place opened for the first time — or rather, soon after the order counter and barroom opened, since the rest of the premises was blocked off by hanging sheets, its windows papered over. Jeff Zalaznick of Major Food Group could be seen like a captain standing on deck in the red-boothed bar, barking orders and directing employees as they draped off the balance of the restaurant.
It being a fine day with clouds scudding across a blue sky, I took the sandwich outside to eat. It came on a seeded roll with a crackling crust that was nevertheless considerably shorter than the hero roll used at Fiore, which routinely feeds two. There was a generous wad of rare roast beef, and several slabs of fresh mozzarella. Underneath the roast beef was a relish of minced Italian hot peppers; on top of the mutz were a couple of thin slices of tomato.
But where was the brown gravy, a prominent feature of the Fiore original, and of the other roast beef and mozzarella heros in New Jersey and Brooklyn, such as the one at Original John’s Deli in Gravesend? Nowhere to be found. Still, The Ozersky is a formidable sandwich in the Torrisi idiom, though one wonders if the contentious food writer wouldn’t have chided the establishment for not including gravy.