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Best Sandwiches in America 2015: Grilled Cheese

Best Sandwiches in America 2015: Grilled Cheese

Who makes the best sandwich? Restaurant Hospitality’s editorial staff narrowed down the large field in our Best Sandwiches in America contest to 18 finalists. See all winners >>

Winner: The Bikini Sandwich

Restaurant: Mercat a la Planxa, Chicago

Sandwich Creator: Jose Garces

Inspiration: “I like putting things between two pieces of bread that tell a story. The Bikini Sandwich is named after Barcelona’s famed Bikini Music Hall, which served a version of the French Croque Monsieur. At Mercat, this is our version of the classic sandwich.”

Key Ingredients: Truffle Manchego Cheese, Serrano Ham, toasted brioche and rosemary peach jam

Price: $10

Food Cost: $2.50

What the Judges Said: As Americans, we do everything big. Our general philosophy, at least when it comes to sandwiches, is that more is better. As you look through the winners, you’ll see we have a tendency to agree. But in this case, The Bikini bucks the trend and brings to life the old adage: less is more. It takes a skilled cook and superior ingredients to pull this off, but that’s exactly what’s accomplished here. Will construction workers like this sandwich? Hell yeah. Will they be pissed they paid 10 bucks for a sandwich that may have them wanting more? Probably. But if you don’t operate a jackhammer, this is a damn good sandwich that delivers an incredible amount of flavor elevated by the sweet and savory rosemary peach jam. This sandwich was so fine it made us do something we rarely do: take our elbows off the table and mind our manners.

Honorable Mentions:
• Fried Green Tomato BLT: Magnolias, Charleston, SC
• Roasted Tomato Bacon Jam & Brie Grilled Cheese: North Bend Bar & Grill, North Bend, WA
• Shortrib Grilled Cheese: Provenance, Newport Beach, CA
• Chesapeake Bay Grilled Cheese: Full City Café, Kalamazoo, MI
• Blackberry Melt: Toasted, Winter Park, FL

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