Two Manhattan chefs are putting a creative spin on some signature sandwiches that are sure to keep you coming back. Zagat Editor James Mulcahy filed the following report.
For this week's Zagat Spotlight, we stopped by two spots serving awesome new sandwiches. First up is the Rocket Pig, the namesake sandwich being served at a small shop behind Chelsea's Trestle on Tenth restaurant. The brainchild of chef Ralf Kuettel, this delicious creation features spice rubbed pork topped with red onion jam and mustard sauce.
"People don't realize how long it really takes - first we get the pig in, we break him down and we brine it for three days. Then we spice rub it, we smoke it for two hours, roast it for three and then we just get started with the sandwich," explains Kuettel.
There are plenty of pork sandwiches being served in New York City, but this one stands out for both the tenderness of the pig and the Germanic influences that the chef works in to his recipe.
"The inspiration of the sandwich came from my upbringing, which was Swiss German. That's why it's brined, that's why it's smoked. The spices we use are not Mediterranean spices, they are more like Northern European spices," says Kuettel.
Down in Soho, casual eatery Salume is also adding a unique ingredient to their sandwiches: Alcohol. They have just debuted a few liquor-infused paninis, using an innovative process to impart the flavors from rye or grappa into their meat.
"We put the ham into a bag with the alcohol, vacuum seal it, and then we'll let it marinate anywhere from two to three hours to a day or day and a half, depending on the meat," explains Chef Steven Hubbell.
As they assemble the sandwich, an eye dropper is used to apply dabs of the liquor resulting in a delicate balance of flavors that elevates these offerings to the next level.
"The Serrano ham is a really dynamite ham, when it comes to us we'll infuse the alcohol just into the fat cap of it. Sandwich-wise, it's a traditional hero roll, the Serrano ham, a fig mustard, peppermint and Bulleit Rye," says Hubbell.
Though the flavors of the liquor stand out, guests shouldn't worry about wobbling when they're done with lunch.
"People will not get drunk from this," Hubbell jokes.
For more information about these sandwiches and other new restaurants, visit blog.zagat.com.