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A long loaf of bread with cheese and vegetables visible.
Il Mediterraneo at Grandaisy Bakery

The Summer’s Most Perfect Sandwich

Plus a contender from the city’s newest bakery — and seven more

What is a summer sandwich, anyway? It shouldn’t be too big or too heavy. If it favors vegetables over meats, so much the better, because summer is a good time to eat a little lighter. The sandwich should be at home at a picnic, and the bread can be more prominent than in a winter sandwich. There shouldn’t be too many condiments, and, needless to say, it should be a cold sandwich and not a hot one. And eggs will be big this summer, as prices have come down and it’s one of the cheapest protein sources available. Not to mention eggs taste great.

Here are a handful of sandwiches that herald the coming season.

1. Paneer tikka sandwich at Atul Bakery

This new bakery in Jersey City’s India Square offers all kinds of Bombay baked goods, including cookies and pastries both savory and sweet. I was most interested in the selection of sandwiches, including the paneer tikka ($9) on a bouncy roll, stuffed with fresh cubes of cheese in a spicy sauce shot with chiles and cracked black peppercorns. It’s so sloppy that it takes some concentration to eat it, but it’s well worth the effort. 826 Newark Avenue, near Tonnele Avenue, Jersey City

A square sandwich with cubes of wet cheese spilling out.
The vegetarian paneer tikka sandwich.

2. Egg salad sandwich at Cafe Kitsune

This might be your average egg salad on fluffy white bread, except the bread is brioche, the mayo is liberally applied, and in the middle displays an entire boiled egg. It makes the sandwich ($11) visually appealing, but also further exalts the egg, which is a great thing if it’s the eggs you love about egg salad. The smooch of fresh herbs is an added plus. Sporadically available. 550 Hudson Street, at Perry Street, West Village

A half egg is implanted in each half of the sandwich.
The egg salad at Kitsune has a bonus boiled egg.

3. Cauliflower sandwich at Radio Bakery

Every so often a creative sandwich comes along unlike anything tasted before, and this sandwich readily falls in that category. The cauliflower has been cooked to chewy crunchiness with a contrasting creaminess of tahini and the mild pickled chiles adding mainly a tart note. And the bread having come out of the oven recently is an added plus. 135 India Street, near Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint

A long loaf with cauliflower and pale green chiles.
Cauliflower sandwich at Radio Bakery.

4. Croston con morcilla at Tabare

I’m going to boldly declare that an open-face sandwich is still a sandwich, despite half of its bread going missing. I made that call recently at Tabare, a bistro in the heart of Bushwick that specializes in the cuisine of Uruguay — which overlaps about 80 percent with that of next-door Argentina. The croston con morcilla ($12) is a loamy blood sausage squished over a full-size piece of toast with a runny, paprika-dusted egg plonked on top. Brunch nirvana! 1006 Flushing Avenue, near Wilson Avenue, Bushwick

A piece of toast with dark crumbled meat and runny egg on top.
Open face blood sausage sandwich at Tabare.

5. Potato salad sandwich at Ole & Steen

Danish baker Ole & Steen has a full range of sandwiches on rye or on focaccia. The open-face ones on rye are called smorrebrod, and this one ($8) really caught my eye. I love carbs and especially double carbs, but can you really consider this type of very stout rye bread a carbohydrate? Luckily this potato salad actively fights against the potential healthfulness of the bread, made with a mayo so sweet it will make your toes curl. 873 Broadway, at 18th Street, Union Square

Dark brown coarse bread with potato salad on top.
Potato salad smorrebrod.

6. Corned beef and egg sandwich at M Star Cafe

The new crop of Hong Kong cafes that have been popping up on the Lower East Side are great places to find old-fashioned sandwiches of human size — not overstuffed, and plenty big for a large snack or a small meal. Here egg is scrambled with corned beef, salty and delicious. Just like your mom or dad did if you were a coddled child, the crusts of the milk bread have been cut off. 19 Division Street, between Bowery and Market Street, Chinatown

A sandwich on white bread with egg and pink meat showing.
Corned beef and egg sandwich.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

7. Mortadella sandwich at St. George

This newly arrived UK coffee shop has a sidelines in Italian sandwiches, made on focaccia that has a crackly texture and is obviously low on carbs. This helps to showcase the very thin layer of fillings which makes an agreeable combination if you want to dine rather lightly. Half sandwiches are available, as in this delicious example ($9) with mortadella and wonderfully drippy burrata. 74 Seventh Avenue South, at Barrow Street, West Village

A half square of focaccia with meat and cheese in thin layers inside.
Mortadella sandwich at St. George.

8. Egg salad sandwich at Breads Bakery

Let us now praise the small sandwich. While our city style favors the giant sandwiches, small sandwiches are tidier to eat, more summery, and just the thing when a hero feels more like a chore than a meal. This one ($8.35) involves a modest amount of chive-shot egg salad and a slice of very ripe tomato on a seeded roll that fits in the palm of your hand. 1890 Broadway, at 63rd Street, Upper West Side

A round roll with sesame seeds, its plastic wrap around it.
Egg salad on a small roll at Breads.

9. Il Mediterraneo at Grandaisy Bakery

The demi baguette is baked on premises and gives this light vegetarian baton ($8.50) heft and crunch, and the eggplant, peppers, and summer squash have been grilled to caramelized sweetness. Feta cheese adds creaminess and a sharp flavor contrast to the sweet peppers. I’m ready to declare this as summer’s most perfect sandwich. 250 West Broadway, at Walker Street, Tribeca

An eggplant sandwich on a baguette.
Il Mediterraneo at Grandaisy Bakery

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