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Thursday, December 23, 2010

No. 7 is #1

Since my two-week Xmas break started today, I wanted to make the most of it by trying a new restaurant.  Then there was the problem of deciding where I wanted to go.  The Ace Hotel (a new-ish boutique hotel on the random corner of 29th and Broadway) has one of the greatest lobbies in New York.  It is a combination coffee house and dim lounge so I thought it would be the perfect place to weigh my restaurant options while catching up on some reading.

I'm sure that it would have been a great place to figure things out but instead, it led me to the restaurant itself.  Located at the base of the hotel (though it must be entered through a separate door) is No. 7 Sub.  I have never been to No. 7 restaurant (hello, it's in Fort Greene, Brooklyn - too far for this Manhattan gal), but it must be good because it has spawned this brilliant sandwich shop (which, thankfully, is in the proper borough).

There are 10 very inventive sandwiches on the menu, all for $9.  All are served on crispity, toasted French bread that is not so thick it takes over the fillings, which are extremely original.  You wouldn't dream of finding fried mussels with cheese, pickled beets, and frisee at Blimpie.  And don't think you need to settle for plain roasted veggies and goat cheese if you're a vegetarian.  The meat-free options include brussels sprouts (with french dressing and potato chips) and broccoli (with cheese, soy bacon, and shallots).  I, myself, decided to go with the braised short ribs with red wine vinaigrette, sweet potato, and marshmallow.  Good choice, self.

There is no place to sit so I took my sandwich to the ledge by the window where the passerby could peer in the window and watch me hunker down.  They looked jealous, probably because they already knew what was inside the small shop.  When you see the list of ingredients you think it's just a little too out there.  It's like Willy Wonka decided to abandon the chocolate factory and devote all his energy to sandwiches.  I loved my sandwich (the salty, juicy, shredded meat couldn't ask for a better match than the sweet potato and marshmallows), but I'll be sad to see it leave.  Like all good things, this, too, shall eventually pass.  While this sandwich is perfect for winter, it will have to make way for new favorites once Springtime arrives.  I'll miss my short rib, but I'm sure the newbies will be equally lip-smacking.

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