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A sandwich cut in half with gravy dribbling out.
Brisket and gravy on rye at Moe’s.

New York’s Best Sandwiches of the Season

Winter picks include lamb kebab, shawarma, roast pork, and more

Winter sandwiches should be hot and substantial. And if there’s a little twist to make them more interesting — an unexpected ingredient, unusual bread, or a dollop of spicy condiment — all the better to counteract the relentless grayness of the season. Here are 11 sandwich suggestions, all within a 40 mile radius of the city, for what promises to be a very cold and snowy winter.

Check out some of our earlier sandwich collections: 10 Italian Heroes to Eat Right Now, 9 Favorite Sandwiches for Spring, 9 More Favorite Sandwiches for Spring, 9 Favorite Sandwiches for Fall, 11 Unexpected Sandwiches, 11 Favorite Hot Parm Heros, 11 Favorite Winter Sandwiches, 11 Favorite Fall Sandwiches, 11 More NYC Sandwiches That Are Getting Us Through the Pandemic, 11 Great NYC Sandwiches That Got Us Through the Pandemic

11. Lamb kebab sandwich at El Toum

Jackson Heights’s foremost Middle Eastern restaurant is a shoebox of a space on a side street, but the food turned out in the tiny kitchen merits a rave. This pita sandwich ($11) is made with a lamb kebab just off the grill, and comes extensively slathered with the Lebanese restaurant’s namesake white garlic sauce, toum, which delivers a warming burn to the lips. 35-62 76th Street, near 35th Avenue, Jackson Heights

A rolled sandwich with chunks of meat and white sauce visible along with lettuce and tomatoes.
The lamb kebab sandwich comes slathered with garlic sauce.

10. Happy waitress sandwich at Miss America Diner

The happy waitress ($10) is a staple of New Jersey diners (and some New York ones, too) — a species of open-face grilled cheese in which the slices of American smother tomatoes and bacon, making for a crunchy, squishy, and smoky sandwich, though cheese and lots of it is clearly the message; it almost blinds you in its brightness, like a winter sunrise. The origin of the name? You tell me. 322 West Side Avenue, at Culver Avenue, Jersey City

Two open face sandwiches smothered in yellow cheese with fries on the side.
Behold the happy waitress.

9. Lamb and cumin bun at Tengri Tagh

One of the most familiar Uyghur dishes is the diminutive pita stuffed with lamb flavored with Asian cumin — which has a sharper flavor than the Mexican and Spanish spice. Why is this better than the one at Xi’an Famous Foods? This version ($8) adds to the meaty flavors with sweet peppers and scallions sautéed in lamb fat. 144 West 37th Street, near 7th Avenue, Herald Square

A hand holds a meat sandwich on a small pita split in half.
The very juicy lamb and cumin bun.

8. Brisket and gravy at Moe’s Pastrami & Burgers

This Yemeni halal deli serving the usual deli combination of meats is a descendent of the famous David’s Brisket House in Bed-Stuy. Sure the hot pastrami and burgers are great cold-weather fare, served in three sizes, but my favorite sandwich there is the hot brisket, thickly sliced, with gravy ($16 for a medium-size sandwich); request extra gravy on the side. 569 Flatbush Avenue, near Maple Street, Prospect Lefferts Gardens

A cramped interior with a counter and Arabic inscription high up.
The hot brisket sandwich is available in three sizes.

7. Chicken sandwich at Raising Cane’s

Everything at this massive fried chicken chain from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is made with lighter-than-air chicken fingers. Delivered hot, three to a sandwich, they make a fine winter treat, crisp and delicious ($9). Don’t burn your tongue! 1501 Broadway, at 44th Street, Times Square

A seeded bun with fried chicken fingers sticking out.
Chicken finger sandwich at Raising Cane’s.

6. Brisket Philly cheesesteak at Morgan’s Brooklyn Barbecue

This variation on a towering sandwich classic reverently substitutes smoked brisket for rib-eye or flank steak, and Tex Mex chili con queso for aged provolone, American cheese, or Cheez Whiz. The effect is surprisingly subtle, with the smoky flavor mainly smothered, while the coarse texture of the brisket and beefy flavor shine ($24). 267 Flatbush Avenue, at St. Marks Avenue, Prospect Heights

A long sandwich of meat barely visible under a yellow blanket.
The brisket Philly cheesesteak at Morgan’s

5. Beef-lamb shawarma sandwich at Spice Bros.

This newcomer to the St. Marks tenderloin features two carefully formulated shawarma sandwiches with very different flavors, chicken and a beef-lamb amalgam. The beef-lamb version ($17) arrives on a warm pita slathered with tahini, herbed yogurt, and amba — an Iraqi-Jewish pickled mango condiment, and it hits the sandwich for a home run. 110 St. Marks Place, near Avenue A, East Village

A pita split with meat and greens sticking out.
Chewy and tart, the beef=lamb shawarma.

4. Catskill roast pork at Court Street Grocers

This sandwich classic ($16), originally known as an RPG for “roast pork and garlic,” is a regional specialty of the lower Catskill Mountains, and difficult to find these days even there. In this modern rendition, lots of roast pork is piled on a flat round garlic loaf which has been dressed with duck sauce. Grainy mustard is another component. 485 Court Street, near Nelson Street, Carroll Gardens

A hand holds a sandwich aloft layered with roast pork.
The RPG in its modern incarnation.

3. Flounder sandwich at Mid Atlantic Fish Market

This fish market is of a type that used to dot the landscape in neighborhoods like Harlem, Washington Heights, and Clinton Hill; now few remain. They have long been a great place to get fried or steamed seafood in sandwiches or in combos including rice or french fries. Sure, a whiting sandwich is only $7, but why not splurge on the local flounder ($9), fried to a turn and smeared with tartar sauce? 4250 Broadway, near 181st Street, Washington Heights

Two thick breaded filets on white bread with tartar sauce peeping out.
The flounder sandwich is near-luxurious winter fare.

2. The Dominican at El Castillo de Jagua

This wonderful hot pressed sandwich ($13) is lighthearted spin on the traditional Cuban sandwich. It features roast pork, fried Dominican cheese, pickled red onion, and tostones — and flies the Dominican flag. 113 Rivington Street, at Essex Street, Lower East Side

A pressed sandwich with little paper flags flying on toothpicks.
The Dominican is a riff on the Cuban sandwich.

1. Fat cat sandwich from RU Hungry

All right, you’re going to have to hop on the bus to get this one, a giant sandwich that is a legacy of Rutgers’ famous late night “grease trucks.” Though humongous, the sandwich is simple enough: two burger patties, American cheese, and loads and loads of french fries, with ketchup and mayo contending in a thick shmear. 95 Hamilton Street, near College Avenue, New Brunswick

A giant hero with burger patties and french fries inside the roll.
The fat cat is probably more than one person should eat.

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