Inside their restaurant colored with the hues of the Greek flag, “Souvlaki GR” promises a little bit of Mykonos in every bite. With a deep menu of classic Mediterranean fare at very moderate prices, the owners of the place decided to take the show on the road with a food truck.
Offering a much more limited menu than their brick-and-mortar locale, the Souvlaki GR truck offers a few different types of grilled sandwiches, all wrapped in a warm pita. Both omnivores and vegetarians have options here, whether its chicken, pork, bifteki, falafel, or grilled veggies, and the tantalizing smell of the open grill in the truck is like the siren’s song straight out of Homer’s Odyssey.
I tried to order from “Carl’s Steaks” a week before this review got posted, but even at noon when the lunch rush has only begun, the line to order from this truck was wrapped around the block. The following week it returned, I made a sneak attack to it at 11:30 when there was practically no one there yet, and finally got my Philly Cheesesteak.
“Carl’s Steaks” and their long, black truck are a sponsor of the Yankee’s and list that they are the “best sandwich in NYC” according to AOL Cityguide on the side of their truck. That is quite the claim to make, especially when we have already reviewed heavy-hitters like Alidoro and Olive’s who blew me away. I am a lover of all things cheese steak, and was glad to give this one a try, but when the truck is already placing it on a high pedestal before you can even order, my expectations were far greater than my reality.
TV chefs Lidia Bastianich and Mario Batali joined forces with the help of financier Oscar Farinetti to open “Eataly”. Resembling a traditional Italian market in appearance, every food item for sale is either imported from Italy or made on location using purely Italian ingredients, with the only exception the NY water used to boil the pasta.
The impressively-stocked store hosts a range of places to eat, whether you want a quick nibble or to sit down for a three-course dinner. While there are plenty of edible options there ranging from pizza to meat & cheese platters to full-course meals, I dropped by on my first visit to grab a sandwich. While there were many beautiful-looking options to try, I went with the simplest of the bunch, a baguette with prosciutto di parma. Italian food is all about celebrating simplicity and freshness, so if “Eataly” can turn something as basic as this into something amazing, you know we are in good hands.
Perched right by the Flatiron Building, “Hill Country Chicken” is the place to go when the Shake Shack in the park is lined up all the way down to Union Square. Serving fried chicken with loads of sides and plenty of homemade pies (including their Apple Cheddar Pie that I really enjoyed), there are plenty of options for a good Southern meal.
Fresh fried chicken can take awhile to make, plus there is that inherent amount of grease and high-calories that come with it. For the diner on the go, “Hill Country Chicken” also offers up some hearty sandwiches, including their fried chicken sandwich with the cutesy name, the “Chickwich”.
… And that is the end of my alliterations for this review, I promise. Tucked away on Thompson street (I lied about the alliterations), “Snack” is a cozy hideaway that would be barely noticeable if not for the yellow sign swinging overhead.
“Snack” is also notable for a pretty big vegetarian menu. In fact, the majority of the menu is ovo-lacto vegetarian friendly, so as long as you are not like the lady sitting next to me that was gluten-free, carb-free, and all-around pain in the ass, there is something for everyone! Be it there impressive omelette bar or traditional Greek pies, or array of dips, “Snack” is a hot-spot for lunch and dinner in the SoHo area, and my first trip there would be the average businessperson meal of soup and a sandwich.
Practically a hole in the wall, “Meatball Obsession” has a tiny nook between some large office buildings along fifth avenue. The snackbar is purely a storefront, no seating since there is no inside – it’s just a counter and the sidewalk. Owner Daniel Mancini opened the place out of nostalgia for his grandmother, who used to cook Sunday dinner for the family and would give him a meatball in a cup with some bread to soak up the sauce. Passing down the tradition since 2008 to New Yorker’s getting off the 14th St. F-Stop train, it was time for me to taste some of Nonni’s old-country cooking and see how this meatball stacked up.
“Olive’s” in Soho has been impressing foodies since it opened in 1992, and continues to see lines out the door during the local lunch rush. Named after the owner’s Portugese water dog, their selection of freshly made sandwiches and salads keeps people coming back for more once they have had their first bite.
Even though there are not a ton of sandwiches to choose from, eight in most cases, I had a tough time deciding which one to try. It all became clear when I noticed what seemed to be the most popular sandwich, the “Olive’s Hero”. Why is it such a fan-favorite? It could be because it’s just that damn good.
“Alidoro” is notorious for many things. The first thing this tiny Italian sandwich joint is known for is their long line, typically one that is out the door whenever I pass by at lunch time. I lucked out on the day I decided to walk in, as I had just missed the big lunch rush. I also lucked out as this place runs out of food quick, and that does not bode well for a rumbling tummy.
With around 40 sandwiches that you could have, the menu is daunting at first glance. The list of things you can not have is equally scary, which commands you not to order things such as mayo, ketchup, tomato sauce, lettuce, pickles, utensils, and other no-no’s that would make The Soup Nazi smile. Aside from their reputation of awesome sandwiches, I heard they can be ferocious to customers who dared to ask for things on that banned list, even kicking people out for their insolence!
Having browsed the menu of what I could have outside (convenient for the folks stuck waiting on line when it is out the door), I wasted no time in ordering a “Matthew” sandwich. How could I resist a sandwich named after me? The answer is – I could not, nor will I ever.