Winner: Big Pauley Panini
Restaurants: Constantine’s Deli, Oakland Gardens, N.Y.
Food cost: $3.70
Creator: Michael DiMarco, chef/owner
Ingredients: House-roasted top round, broccoli rabe, fried eggplant cutlet, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, sharp provolone cheese, fried pepperoni and a housemade balsamic reduction. It’s served on
ciabatta bread, which is heated and pressed on a flat-top grill.
What makes it special: Named for a favorite customer, this is a sandwich that pulls together different textures, flavors and temperatures for a big flavor profile. The roast beef goes on cold and other items are hot, offering a delicious contrast. DiMarco said he prefers to heat the sandwich on the grill, rather than a panini press, because it fries a lot better and gets crispier.“It’s not the top seller, but it sells well,” DiMarco said. “The people who try it really like it.”