104 8th Ave., btwn. 15th & 16th Sts.
Hours: 7 days a week, 11AM- 11PM (soon to keep hours until 2AM)
The newest player in the lunch arena, Swich, short for sandwiches, attempts to put itself on the map with pressed sandwiches. This modern, lunch cafeteria is sparsely outfitted with wood floors, a white communal table, and bright green & mirrored walls. Though sleek in that futuristic, Pinkberry sense of the word, Swich manages to evoke a warm vibe. Perhaps that’s due to the contagious excitement of owner, John Garguilo, who personally welcomes customers into the space. Swich even encourages its customers to linger over a cup of damn
good, Le Colombe coffee (Le Colombe) and a hip, ipod playlist. But dedicated to the almighty sandwich, John has crafted fresh and creative combinations with cutesy names, all served on fresh breads from Amy’s Bread & Pain D’Avignon: the Trojan Horse with ground lamb, tzatziki and mint; the Sidney with ham, white cheddar, and apples; and Thanksgiving Every Day with turkey & stuffing served on cranberry walnut bread.
I started with the Memphis; peanut butter with banana & honey on semolina bread. Grab a napkin before you attempt a bite of this warm comfort food-concoction, served with a glass of whole milk.
The crunch of tasty, raisin-studded semolina perfectly offsets the silky gooey-ness of the peanut butter. I made a go at the Steak Monster, sliced steak accompanied by caramelized onions, tomato and smothered in steak sauce. While they laid the steak sauce on a little thick and the steak should’ve been sliced into smaller peices, the meat was surprisingly juicy and tender.
I also dabbled in a deconstructed Hippie Chick, which simply put, is just chicken and avocado on watercress sans the bread. Though dainty and fresh, salads aren’t Swich’s strong suit: it left me wondering how much better the ingredients would’ve tasted sandwiched between two warm slices of “impossible wheat” bread. Impossible wheat, a “white wheat” with all of the fiber and nutrition of traditional wheat bread, apparently lacks the bitter aftertaste often associated with wheat bread. While “white wheat” is having its day in England, it has yet to make an impression on the American palate. Swich teamed up with Amy Scherber, of Amy’s Bread fame, to introduce it to a NYC lunch crowd. I threw my Bob Cobb, John’s take on a cobb salad, on impossible wheat and conducted my own taste test. Mind you, warm bread is always a lure in and of itself, but I thought it held its own as far as bread goes.
Ironically, the best dish at Swich, is not even a sandwich, but the Regionally Famous Sweet Potato Chips. I doubt they’re actually “famous”, seeing as Swich has only been open for five days, but these salty sweet, paper thin slivers of fried sweet potato (cut in a meat slicer), are reason enough to make a trip to Swich. So is the Edible Happiness, a glorious mess of nutella, dark and white chocolate with evaporated milk, sealed between two thick slices of buttery brioche. There’s no molecular gastronomy or even culinary wizardry at play in Swich’s kitchen, but who could turn their nose up at oozing, melted chocolate at 2 AM?
Until we eat again,
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