America's Strangest Sandwiches
From a grilled cheesecake to a hamburger bun made of crispy ramen noodles, these mad-scientist-like creations elevate the simple sandwich.
“Our menu has always been eclectic and out of the norm,” explains Tyler Kord, owner and chef of New York City’s No. 7 Sub. “We like playing with ingredients to give our guests something that they can’t find somewhere else.”
For a lot of New Yorkers, that something is No. 7 Sub’s broccoli sandwich, which has the unusual-but-inspired addition of lychees pickled in ginger and chiles.
We set out to find other wonderfully strange sandwiches across the U.S., bypassing classics like the Reuben, the po’boy, and the cheesesteak in order to toast (pun intended) one-of-a-kind creations.
Tinkering with the sandwich is nothing new; Elvis Presley changed up the original PB&J to include bacon and bananas instead, and that recipe remains a southern favorite. But it seems that with each year, the twists on American sandwiches get more, well, twisted.
Brooklyn-based Keizo Shimamoto wowed the world in 2013 when he created the first ramen burger, featuring buns made entirely of ramen noodles crisped on a grill.
“Keizo has a vision and passion for spreading great ramen throughout the world,” explains his brother and head of business development, Jeff Shimamoto. “The ramen burger has been an effective vehicle for introducing Americans to fresh ramen noodles and the wonderful taste of shoyu sauce.”
At Butcher & Bee in Charleston, SC, recent inclement weather inspired an update to the staple pastrami. “We had two cold spells in 2013, and most of the local vegetables were knocked back,” says proprietor Michael Shemtov. Lacking lettuce, the chef put cooked collard greens between the top slice of rye bread and the meat, creating an instant hit with diners.
Its popularity wouldn’t come as a surprise to Tyler Kord of No. 7 Sub: “People like food that tastes good, and if it’s challenging along the way, all the more fun.”