Riding the V Line: The King of Cuban Sandwiches

Night on Broadway in Woodside is electric: Trains rumble overhead, a hundred dialects of Spanish are barked in the air, and the promise of everything from dance lessons to roasted guinea pig glares nightward out of neon signs. When we step off the V at 65th Street, though, we somehow never find ourselves tempted by all that novelty. What we want is the undisputed classic, the El Sitio Cubano sandwich, the patriarch of its race. It’s just a few steps from the train to the counter, but even those are too many.

El Sitio has been around for a long time, 44 years, and something of its stately stability even extends to its perfect sandwiches, which we know the Underground Gourmet happens to esteem almost as much as we do. But the greatness of El Sitio doesn’t end with its Cubano, or even its media noche sandwich (a Cuban on sweeter bread). No, we frequently give in and get vaca frita for dessert, carefully pan-dried skirt steak enlivened with vibrant pickled purple onions. A beer, some viscous flan, and we’re back on the train again — reassured that the best things in life, or at least in Queens, never change.


Don't go into the light — till you've eaten.Photo: Yun Cee Ng