GREENWICH VILLAGE, NYC | I have been lamenting for a while that slowly yet steady disappearance of the local neighborhood sandwich shop. Not the ubiquitous franchised chains such as Subway or Potbelly, but the local sandwich shops, many that cooked their own meats, and got their bread and produce from likewise local merchants. These shops served expertly created sandwiches, boasting the best of ingredients, and built not to be cheap, but to be delicious.
Early in the summer I had the great good fortune of making it down to the Taste of Jewish Food Festival on 6th Avenue, enjoying some premium pastrami, earnestly traditional bagels, and genuinely tasty old school egg creams.
And I also happened to, luckily enough, land upon the booth for Court Street Grocers, hawking sandwiches made to order, and featuring one created just for the occasion, the 6th Avenue, plied with fresh roast beef and chicken liver. It was simple, homey, well-put together, smartly thought out, and and an absolute pleasure to devour—handily and quickly.
Having brick & mortar spots in Brooklyn and in Hell's Kitchen, I feared and accepted that it might be a while before I would get to enjoy another sandwich from these obvious pros.
But that all changed this week when I fortunately caught a GrubStreet post on Facebook with the news that Court Street Grocers was ready to open shop in Greenwich Village. So early this morning I took a trip downtown to try one of their many appetizing-sounding sandwiches.
I wound up trying two of them. One was their breakfast sandwich, apt as it was around 9 or so in the morning. It layered scrambled eggs with Cabot cheddar and arugula, my additional order of bacon, and all sat pretty in a toasted Balthazar ciabatta roll.
Creamy, fluffy, scrambled eggs were nicely elevated by peppery fresh arugula, the nuanced headiness of Cabot cheddar, and of course the grounding thrill of smoky, salty bacon, crispy where lean and well-rendered enough to easily bite through its fattier parts. The ciabatta roll a perfect vessel, airy yet firm on the inside, crunchy without being to hard on its exterior. You'll be hard-pressed to find a better and a tastier way to start your morning off so gloriously for only 6 bucks.
The other sandwich I ordered—the one I actually came for—was the anchovy sandwich. Agostino Recca anchovies share its intense flavor generously with the tastebuds, relying far more its more admirable balance of fish flavor and salt, with addition of lettuce, radish, and lemon juice, cleansing the palate with each bite, and the hist of fresh herbs to hold the palate engaged until the next bite. This was not just a delicious eat, it was a fun eat as well, with the play of the textures in each bite indulge the rest of the mouth.
(Also fun was enjoying, for the very first time ever, a spicy ginger, courtesy of Blenheim, whose products I will be actively looking out for from now on.)
Though still not "local" enough to me way up here on the Upper East Side, I am far more comforted by the prospect that it is now an easier and more convenient trip to make. At least not a 6th Avenue convenient trip to make.
But it is indeed and most definitely a worthwhile one.
COURT STREET GROCERS | 540 LaGuardia Place | (212) 777-9292 | courtstreetgrocers.com