Rating The Best ‘Wiches In The Borough
By Danielle McClure
Everyone loves a sandwich, whether it’s grilled, pressed, piled high, or just a plain PB&J. From India to Cuba to Italy, sandwiches cross every cultural divide, and in a borough as diverse and delicious as our fair Queens, there are more mouth-watering combinations of bread, meat and cheese than imaginable. We rated five of the best to determine which ‘wich reigns supreme.
Cherry Valley Deli & Grill
12-29 150th St., Whitestone | (718) 767-1937 | www.cherryvalleydeli.net
EDITOR’S CHOICE | It’s Queens Rating: 94
Fans of the outrageous, gut-busting “grease truck” sandwiches, which notoriously squeeze everything from mozzarella sticks to French fries to brown gravy and cold cuts inside a hero, certainly don’t have to trek all the way to Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, to satiate their crazy cravings — especially when there’s Cherry Valley Deli in Whitestone. This neighborhood fave has an equally egregious reputation (and cult-like following) for its selection of sinful sammies and 24-hour service. It might look like your average corner deli, but it packs a serious palatal punch with a daunting menu that includes dozens of deliciously kooky combos that are sure to test the limits of your waistband. With names like The Beast (chicken cutlet, bacon, Swiss cheese, onion rings and brown gravy), The Fat Cat (two burgers, bacon-fried onions, French fries and American cheese), and Macho Man (grilled roast beef, mozzarella, Swiss, fried onions and brown gravy), ordering is half the fun. The somewhat basic TSC — a chicken cutlet with brown gravy and American cheese on a toasted hero ($6.99) — is really the way to go and it’s good till the last bite. No matter what crazy combo tingles your taste buds, these sandwiches are so mouth-watering good that no matter where you are, you’ll definitely wanna come back for more.
Sal, Kris & Charlie’s Deli
3312 23rd Ave., Astoria | (718) 278-9240
BEST VALUE | It’s Queens Rating: 90
There’s a reason why these guys are known as The Sandwich Kings of Astoria. The superb service, stellar quality and generous quantity of their amazing, massive sandwiches have become legendary in the hood. It’s not uncommon to find a line winding around the block during a busy lunch hour. With a large variety to choose from, it’s The American ($7), otherwise known as The Bomb, where you’ll get the biggest bang for you buck. It’s a whopping 13-inch ‘wich on a sesame hero piled high with, well, everything in the deli pantry: ham, turkey, salami, roast beef, pepperoni, mortadella, American, Swiss and provolone cheeses, lettuce, tomato, onion, roasted peppers, mustard, mayo, and dressing. It’s so thick and hearty that it’s certainly big enough for two meals (for novice patrons), and definitely not for the faint of heart. While some might argue that it’s just too much to put between two slices of bread, diehard fans are more than willing to stretch their jaws and their stomachs for the sloppy goodness, which surprisingly lives up to its hype in girth and flavor. No matter what you order, Sal, Kris and Charlie’s sandwiches are, you guessed it, the bomb.
4602 104th St., Corona | (718) 898-6069
It’s Queens Rating: 89
Walking into this neighborhood mainstay is like stepping into grandmother’s kitchen. The cozy vibe, heartwarming smiles and aromas envelope you like a familiar hug. The food served up is truly comforting for the soul. Steps away from the 7 train, this adorable little Italian market is a can’t-miss landmark; the place is practically an institution and has been family owned and operated for over 80 years. They go out of their way to make every patron feel right at home, and the hearty, delicious cold-cut sandwiches are lip-smacking good. Mama’s Special ($7) is a traditional Southern Italian hero comprised of sweet prosciuttini, spicy salami, and fresh mozzarella that melts in your mouth, along with marinated mushrooms and tangy peppers on a fresh-baked roll that’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. While it’s somewhat small for the price, Mama’s Special still delivers a stellar sandwich.
256-05 Hillside Ave., Floral Park | (718) 470-0059
It’s Queens Rating: 88
Grilled cheese sandwiches are typically nothing to write home about, but the super-tasty triple-decker (and vegetarian friendly) Mumbai sandwich ($4.99) from this far-flung Indian restaurant elevates the kid-friendly staple into serious sandwich territory. What sets it apart? Creamy Amul brand butter and cheese (straight from India) to start. The vibrant green color, from the surprisingly mellow coriander chutney, along with thinly sliced potatoes and crisp green peppers and onions, which add a nice crunch, make this sandwich undeniably unique and so unforgettable it’s definitely worth the trek.
4009 Junction Blvd., Elmhurst | (718) 639-8158 | www.rincon-criollo.com
It’s Queens Rating: 83
Nothing beats a killer Cubano and Rincon Criollo does it right — for the most part. This cozy, family-friendly restaurant has loads of old school charm and an expansive menu of exceptional Cuban eats, but the basic sandwich, comprised of roast pork, ham, mustard, crunchy pickles and gooey Swiss cheese, is a definite standout. While the pressed bread is somewhat unconventional and not quite as crisp as anticipated, it was still traditionally super-thin and didn’t overpower the other ingredients. The thick-slices of pork are tasty, if somewhat dry and there’s not nearly enough cheese for this ‘wich lover, but it’s still stands up to its reputation as one of the best in the borough.
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