It is my intention to celebrate the sandwich this year by finding as many tasty examples as possible, with a special emphasis on fringe styles, but also presenting sandwiches that were considered more normal 30 years ago, but now seem quaint. I will do this weekly and periodically present round-ups of the ones I consider best.
Indian Grilled Cheese
An Indian restaurant at least partly representing the vegetarian snack food of Mumbai, the former Bombay, doesn’t seem like the first place you’d go looking for a great grilled cheese sandwich. But traipse out to USHA Foods in Floral Park, Queens, and find some interesting twists to an old familiar sandwich.
Occupying a building with architecture in the American Colonial style, the place features a broad range of northern Indian sweets, snacks, and short meals in a strictly vegetarian vein. There are chaats, barfis, dosas, paratha rolls, lassis, and crunchy pakoras, as well as a small selection of Indian-Chinese food.
In the “sandwich bar” section of the menu find the cheese and tomato sandwich ($7). It’s made with amul cheese, a processed Indian cheese that’s something like a cross between mozzarella and cheddar, plus very fresh tomatoes that actually taste like tomatoes in spite of winter.
These are pressed between two slices of white bread to create an attractive cross hatching, and then served with a mint chutney for dipping. A handful of perfectly normal potato chips accompanies the sandwich. The plate makes a very nice luncheon, and the dipping sauce is a wonderful addition to the genre, tangy and slightly sweet. In fact, from now on all grilled cheese sandwiches should come with a dipping sauce. 255-03 Hillside Ave., between 255th and 256th streets, Floral Park