Saturday, 30 April 2011

New York Sandwiches: Points for Trying.

Last Saturday started well. The usual call at elevenish for a morning coffee to get the day rolling. I sent a text informing another friend that I was going for coffee and headed to the center. We usually meet up at a little place called "Skoufa Bistro" in Kolonaki, which has very good waffles and very decent coffee.

By the time I arrived I had a reply: "Have a great day (I know it won't only be a coffee)!". In retrospect, I think I was the only person under the impression that all I was going for was coffee. As soon as we sat down, the drilling began. Where were you on Wednesday (we usually meet up on Wednesdays to try new places and have a quiet mid-week break), why didn't you came? And a whole lot more which I will not replay. However, it all came together at the end: "This is your chance to redeem yourself, we're going to New York Sandwiches for lunch after the coffee".

View New York Sandwiches in a larger map

I remembered watching about a sandwiches place on TV not too long ago and wondered if this was the place. I remembered the hugeness of the sandwiches. They made a comment on the show about the cost, but it wasn't really clear if they were saying that it was good value or not. The bottom line was that you get "a meal in between two peaces of bread".

After some cross referencing and checking, (AthinoramaFacebook, Food and the City) it turned out that not only was this the place on the show, but the guy behind the place was affiliated with guy from show. Both being involved with another restaurant ("Aneton"). "A bit of conflict of interest", I thought to myself, "Honer a friendship or uphold the credibility of the show?". It would be convenient if one could do both but unfortunately this would not be the case!

Eventually we arrived. It was really easy to find too: right next to Athens Tower.

The Entrance

You can just make out the communal table that makes up the seating. I was actually surprised at this, mainly because I remembered that the likes of Wagamamas had ditched communal seating for their Athens restaurant. I had always imagined it a result of the market not being accepting of it.

Map of New York Subway

Iconic New York Images in the Wall

Great effort put into creating a New York feel. I've never been so I couldn't really say if they've done a good job of it, but as far as a place to go in Athens I wasn't really enthusiastic.

The Counter and Kitchen Half of the Place

This is where we ordered almost everything on the menu: The Pastrami Sandwich, the Turkey Sandwich, The Meatballs Sandwich and the Veal Sandwich and a Salmon Bagel.

The Pastrami Sandwich

I'm pretty sure the mustard was French's mustard, but even if it wasn't it tasted like it. I couldn't really say about the quality of the pastrami, but there was a satisfying amount of it! Fresh bread, and lots of that too! €6.95.

The Turkey Sandwich

Hearty, deep filled turkey sandwich. Nothing special, but nothing wrong with it. Not much more to say... other than €5.95.

The Meatball Sandwich

The Veal Sandwich

I loved the bread of both the veal and the meatball sandwich. I couldn't help but imagine it as a huge burger! Other than that, both the veal and the meatball sandwich tasted the same and that was because everything else was almost the same about them. Loads of sauce that just about covered the taste of everything else, canned mushrooms and roasted red peppers (from a jar as far as I'm concerned). The texture was slightly different: soft meatball verses slab of meat. The bread was soggy from the sauce; by design of course; but it might as well have been a cotton field on a rainy day! There were two pieces of veal; more surface area for the fried breadcrumbs to gift us with their taste and crunch; covered and saturated in the sauce too. €6.95.

The Salmon Bagel. 

I dunno how they do salmon bagels in the States, but in the UK, in the Student Union shop, we used to have roast beef and onion sandwich.The strong tasting beefiness was well complemented by the pungent onion.  And I absolutely loved their crunchiness. Now how delicate taste of smoked salmon can be paired with onion is beyond me - the texture sure - that was my thought before biting into the sandwich. Turns out the onion taste wasn't the overpowering one (maybe the onions had been boiled before (they didn't seem sautéed but weren't as crunchy - maybe they too were out of a jar?)), but the capers in the cream cheese were. The bagel was perfectly crisp. €4.95.

I felt that quality of the ingredients was low; my friend said it was in character. At five, six, and mainly seven Euro, my first though is that it was expensive. Maybe novelty value. There was nothing remotely special about any of the sandwiches that would prevent me from easily and accurately reproducing them at home for about a fifth of the cost. On the other hand, a baguette can go for around three Euro and only usually has a measly slice of ham in it. We had two sandwiches each. I felt like a I'd had a meal. No more, no less. So what would one sandwich have been? An expensive snack? Quality and price aside, the taste too was nothing great. I couldn't really taste the meat over the sauce and the acidity of the canned vegetables.

I would recommend going for the novelty value, but it's not even in a central location; maybe if you're passing by or if you work near by. To be honest, I think that's really what their target group is: yuppies working in Athens Tower that will embrace anything non-Greek for the sake of it. Good effort, novel, but not quite what it could be. For other: perhaps, perhaps, perhaps...

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