At NYC's recently opened food mecca Gotham West Market, Little Chef offers soups and salads inspired by the raved-about sandwiches at Brooklyn sister spot Saltie. Co-owners Caroline Fidanza and Rebecca Collerton have made their mark with boldly flavored, primarily vegetarian sandwiches like the Scuttlebutt, a powerhouse creation featuring hard-boiled egg, feta, black olives, capers, pickled vegetables, herbs and garlicky pimentón aioli on house-made focaccia. “It’s kind of a show stealer,” Fidanza says. Here, Fidanza reveals the secrets to achieving sandwich greatness.
Creaminess. “I love when sandwiches have creaminess to them. I hate a dry sandwich,” Fidanza says. “I like sandwiches with mayonnaise on them—or avocado. I like them to be on the fatty side, but not in a meaty way, in a mayonnaise-y way.”
Tanginess. “I like a bright salty, briny, pickly element,” she says. “If I didn’t have a sandwich with a pickle on it, I would definitely have it on the side.” Presumably so that she could put the pickle on the sandwich.
Herbiness. “I like to have either an herby or a nice crisp lettucy crunch in a sandwich,” she says. “You can just put some herbs on a cheese sandwich and it suddenly becomes a better sandwich.”
Fidanza’s Favorite Sandwiches
Lettuce and mayo: “My desert island sandwich would be some kind of lettuce and tomato and mayonnaise—or just lettuce and mayonnaise. For bread, I love our focaccia.”
Italian sandwich at Court Street Grocers: “Everything is so perfect. You taste everything but nothing steals the show and it isn’t this humongous sandwich that you can’t wrap your mouth around. It didn’t weigh me down. A lot of times those sandwiches fee like, Oh god, I don’t want to eat the whole thing but I’m going to and I’m going to feel really crappy afterwards. But this sandwich is exactly the right size so that you don’t feel bad about finishing it.”
Porchetta sandwich at Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria: “It is a stunning sandwich. The porchetta is perfectly cooked and it has this really fantastic salsa Verde and it all melds together into a roll.”
Fish torta at Rippers Rockaway: “My all time favorite sandwich.”