Meat on meat
The Ridge, Nashville, Tenn.
Creator: Jesus Garcia
This barbecue joint has smoked pork, chicken and beef all over the menu, but it also has a deep bench of sandwiches, including The Chicano, made with local chorizo, brisket, house-made queso, chipotle aioli and served on a Tuscan baguette with pickled jalapenos for a mild burn. It is meaty and the bread plays a supportive but secondary role, reflecting what we believe is the correct meat-to-bread ratio.
Fried Oyster BTLA
Raw Bar by Slapfish
Huntington Beach, Calif.
Creator: Andrew Gruel
Here’s a classic BLT made extraordinary with the addition of fried oysters. They are topped with bacon, marinated tomatoes, avocado (because it’s California) and a touch of smoked chili sauce on toasted sourdough. Creator Andrew Gruel writes that the oyster bellies pop with each bite, making a mess but bursting with umami.
Black Garlic Honey Habanero Chicken Sandwich
Redondo Beach, Calif.
Creator: Michael Bakert
We knew when we called for sandwiches this year that we would be inundated with hot chicken. This version combines unique flavors using black garlic, honey roasted habanero and roasted pineapple to season the chicken for a sweet-and-hot chicken sandwich that taps not the breast but the very trendy chicken thigh (doubled brined).
Flavors from India
Creator: Amber India culinary team
It looks like an Indian version of a Sloppy Joe, but it’s actually a traditional street food dish in Bombay. At Amber India, it’s served as sliders on buttered buns with a DIY component, so people can put as much crisp red onion as they like to cut the richness and spices of the ground lamb. The ground lamb is mixed with tomatoes and peas.
BIANCA BRIAN SAMUELS PHOTOGRAPHY
Mushroom French Dip
Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Creator: Tim Cushman
Wild mushrooms meet melted gruyere and roasted garlic-truffle aioli on house-made toasted ciabatta. This was definitely the year of variations on French dip (or birria) and this vegetarian version comes with a mushroom jus for dipping, or what owner Tim Cushman calls an “umami tsunami.”
The Royal Round
Colonel Mustard’s Sandwich Emporium
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Creator: Karrie Williams
The Persian dish kuku sabzi is like a frittata made with eggs, but it is chock full, including potato, carrots, celery, onion, bell pepper, parsley, basil, spinach, garlic and turmeric. Here, it serves as the cornerstone of a breakfast sandwich, topped with melted Boar’s Head Vermont cheddar and a breakfast sausage and served on a buttered ciabatta. It’s a frittata on a ciabatta. The year-old Colonel Mustard’s, incidentally, is known for its 100 mustards, some made in house. A specialty: Mustard ice cream (made with French’s).