Yesterday’s trend was Asian sandwiches; could tomorrow’s be Portuguese? Anyone who’s been to Lisbon knows that it’s a sandwich-lover’s mecca (okay, maybe not “mecca”— there’s a lot of pork involved), so we squealed like suckling pigs when we caught wind of City Sandwich, opening a couple of doors down from Xie Xie. Owner Michael Guerrieri (born in Naples and raised in Long Island) test-ran the shop in his adopted hometown of Lisbon, where he also owns Mezzaluna. But don’t expect your traditional Portuguese sandwich bar, with pre-made sandwiches marinating in the window — this one will have a sleeker “Mediterranean” look (playing on the colors of the Portuguese and Italian flags), and rather than sticking to the classics, Guerrieri’s twenty or so concoctions (generally priced between $6 and $10) will consist of ingredients that he says are 40 percent Portuguese, 25 percent Italian, and 35 percent “New York twist.”
Some of those ingredients will be imported while others, like the morcela (blood sausage) are being made for him by a New Jersey purveyor (the bread, a “nice upper-scale baguette” is also custom baked in New Jersey). Guerrieri is eschewing the usual mayonnaise for yogurt sauces made with herbs and spices popular back home. Sandwiches include a cod fish with caramelized onions, tomato, and black olive pesto; morcela with sautéed broccoli rabe, tomato, and melted mozzarella; alheira (a pork-chicken sausage) with steamed collard greens; and a tomato and mozzarella with seasonal greens and yogurt pesto sauce. The BLT will incorporate smoked pancetta and honey-mustard yogurt sauce, and there’ll be a soup and pasta of the day as well as salads. Eventually, you can also expect a sandwich of the day— so suckling pig aficionados should start hoping that Guerrieri finally finds a leitão provider who meets his standards. City Sandwich opens in the next couple of weeks, ConEd-willing.
City Sandwich, 649 Ninth Avenue, nr. 45th St.