With the weather getting warmer, we’ve got one protein on our minds: Seafood! While New York may not be considered a seafood mecca like New England, we can more than hold our own on the fish front. And because almost anything is better in sandwich form, we’re looking forward to creative and regional renditions from some of the city’s best chefs and shops. Sure, you can get a stellar lobster roll at the Red Hook Lobster Pound or The Mermaid Inn, but we’ve discovered seafood sandwiches far beyond lobster, like the fried shrimp po’ boy at Cheeky Sandwiches, or even a Montreal-style lox sandwich, served right in Brooklyn.
Cheeky Sandwiches – Fried Shrimp Po’Boy
Address: 35 Orchard St., btwn Hester & Canal Sts.
Just because you didn’t make it to New Orlenans for Mardi Gras this year doesn’t mean you have to go an entire year without a proper Po’Boy. (We’d go crazy.) We get our fix at Cheeky Sandwiches on the Lower East Side and we almost always order the fried shrimp. These X-plump shellfish are dredged in a cornmeal-flour mixture that’s finely spiced with Creole seasoning. And if the batter doesn’t give the sandwich enough of a kick, this hefty sandwich is dressed to the nines with veggies, mayo, ketchup and hot sauce.
Lure Fishbar, Grilled Mahi Mahi Sandwich
Address: 142 Mercer St., at Prince St.
Phone: (212) 431-7676
There are two sides to Chef Josh Capon’s cooking. Dinner service at Lure Fishbar features elegant, Asian-inspired plates like steamed red snapper in a red curry broth, while his newly opened Burger & Barrel goes the casual, gastropub route. These restaurants seem like polar opposites, but lunch at Lure bridges the gap with seafood sandwiches. Our favorite is the grilled mahi mahi, a club cleverly layered with bacon, tomato and mayo on sourdough with a side of house-made salt and vinegar chips.
Luke’s Lobster – Crab Roll
Address: 426 Amsterdam Ave., btwn 80th & 81Sts.
What started as a tiny fish shack in the East Village has quickly expanded into a small empire (and still growing) with four locations around the city. What makes Luke’s Lobster so unique is his tight relationship with the Maine seafood supplier, who just happens to his father. The menu features a traditional Maine-style lobster roll, but we’re much more excited about the crab roll, served on a buttered, toasted bun with a dab of mayo
& seasoning. The crab is incredibly fresh and tender, practically melting into the buttered bun beneath it.
Saltie – Captain’s Daughter Sandwich
Address: 378 Metropolitan Ave. (Brooklyn)
Phone: (718) 387-4777
This nautically-themed sandwich shop is yet another reason why it’s so difficult to decide where to eat in Williamsburg. With its house-baked bread and unique ingredient combinations, Saltie makes a pretty compelling case for a visit. Our new favorite is called the Captain’s Daughter, which comes with sardines, pickled egg and salsa verde. While the fish isn’t freshly caught, it’s supremely tender and spiced just right. Our only complaint is that there isn’t a Manhattan outpost… yet.
Jen-N-Outlaws Fish Fry Truck – Fried Catfish Po’Boy
A new food truck seems to pop up in the city everyday, but the Fish Fry Truck is definitely one we want to keep track of. Bushwick residents, Jen Catron and her partner Outlaw, are determined to produce true, Southern-style seafood, starting with the iconic catfish po’ boy. It’s crispy, fresh and though it’s fried, it’s oddly not the least bit greasy. Make sure to order it with a side of fried pickles!
Mermaid Inn - Lobster Sandwich
Address: 96 2nd Ave, btwn. 5th & 6th Sts.
Phone: (212) 674-5870
This East Village eatery has been a reliable neighborhood staple for seven years, largely due to the top-notch lobster rolls. The restaurant breaks from the traditional by using a brioche roll instead of the traditional bun. It may be unorthodox, but we’re certainly not complaining. The Mermaid Inn doesn’t skimp on the meat and the side of Old Bay-spiced fries doesn’t hurt either.
Red Hook Lobster Pound - Lobster Roll
Address: 284 Van Brunt St. (Brooklyn)
Phone: (646) 326-7650
The Red Hook Lobster Pound is making moves this year. This Brooklyn-based purveyor of Maine lobster just launched two food trucks in Washington D.C., and is also bringing a mobile eatery to the five boroughs in May. Until then, you can sample their spot-on lobster rolls at the brick-and-mortar, Van Brunt Street location. Served in buns straight from a Maine bakery, the fresh-picked lobster meat is dressed with celery, spices and as much (or as little) mayo as you like. The Lobster Pound also serves a Connecticut-style sandwich with just lobster slathered in melted butter, which we happen to like even better.
Wichcraft – Not Your Average Tuna Sandwich
It’s hard to eat a good lunch when you have twenty minutes to grab it and get back to the office. We can thank Tom Colicchio for making it a lot easier at Wichcraft. While this sandwich chain has steadily grown over the past few years, the quality of the food hasn’t suffered a bit. The most popular sandwiches are the hot ones, like the roast pork or turkey, but the tuna salad is an insider’s favorite. This isn’t your basic corner deli tuna: The tuna in this creation is mixed with a delicious combination of fennel, green olives, lemon and a touch of garlic mayo.
Mile End Deli – Lox & Cream Cheese on A Bagel
Address: 97A Hoyt St. (Brooklyn)
Phone: (212) 872-7510
With a streak of successful Montreal restaurants opening in New York over the past couple of years, it won’t be long before poutine and smoked meat are as common as disco fries and pastrami. At the forefront of this Canadian invasion is Mile End, a Jewish deli nestled in the Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. The eatery is known for hand-carved, smoked meats, but don’t miss the bagel and lox breakfast special. Dubbed “The Beauty,” this delectable, $9 sandwich features lox, cream cheese, tomato, red onion and capers. While the cured salmon is excellent, it’s the uniquely chewy bagels, shipped straight from Montreal, that make is special.