Hat tip to @OGDougKopf and local legend White Sean for joining me on two trips to eat this sandwich.
The sandwich: No. 7 Sub Club from the No. 7 Sub in the Plaza Hotel basement. Note that the sandwich in question is exclusive to the Plaza Hotel location. TedQuarters celebrates the luxury lifestyle.
The construction: Turkey, Canadian bacon, jalapeno mayo, bbq potato chips, tomato and pico de lettuce on toasted french bread.
Important background information: Seriously, the Plaza Hotel basement is all sorts of awesome. Overpriced and touristy? Sure. But a beacon of deliciousness in midtown’s vast wasteland of pay-per-pound corporate food bars, and an elegantly decorated one at that. In addition to the No. 7 Sub, there’s a Luke’s Lobster and a Billy’s — for my money, the city’s best bakery. For a treat, walk in the main entrance off Grand Army Plaza (the midtown one, not the Brooklyn one) and pretend you’re some kind of baller.
What it looks like:
How it tastes: This is such a good sandwich, but it’s hard to put my finger on why.
It’s not the turkey and it’s probably not the Canadian bacon. Neither takes anything away from the sandwich, for sure. The turkey adds all-important bulk, a meatiness that prevents this hero from being a mere mess of toppings and condiments. The Canadian bacon — or “ham,” as we call it here in the States — lends some of that too, plus maybe some saltiness and a gentle nod toward porky flavor.
But it is some combination of the bread, chips, pico de lettuce and jalapeno mayo that make a seemingly ordinary roster of ingredients a very decidedly extraordinary sandwich, in flavor, in texture and in execution, from the first toasty bite to the final morsels scratched from the wax paper and licked from the fingers.
The bread is perfect. Warm from the toaster and crunchy on the outside but still soft in the middle and clearly same-day fresh, it feels like the ideal vehicle for a classic deli combo or, frankly, any hearty sandwich.
The chips, somewhere buried in the middle, add a familiar sweet and smoky taste, and some mid-bite crunch. The jalapeno mayo, present throughout but never overwhelming, brings creaminess and fire, a back-of-the-mouth heat that emboldens every other flavor in the sandwich.
And the pico de lettuce — I don’t even know what this stuff is beyond some sort of dressed lettuce, exactly, but it’s amazing. It’s delicious and clean-tasting, almost refreshing, and both moist and crispy. It provides a cole slaw-like effect but it is not nearly so vinegary and it contains no mayo. That’s clearly the difference-maker here, actually, and my limited food-describing capabilities prevent me from doing it justice. You should probably go check out this sandwich.
But it’s everything, really. It all just works. It doesn’t taste like they’re trying to be too fancy or go crazy with odd ingredients; it tastes like someone with a very strong understanding of what makes sandwiches great took a familiar classic and elevated it to its ideal form. It’s good enough that I want to go back to No. 7 Sub a few more times and try everything on their menu — high praise from a dude pretty dedicated to trying and reviewing as wide a variety of sandwiches and sandwich-purveyors as his budget and waistline will allow.
What it’s worth: Herein lies the rub. Presumably rent in the Plaza Hotel basement does not come cheap, plus all the ingredients in the No. 7 Sub Club are clearly high quality. Accordingly, the No. 7 Sub Club costs $13.
How it rates: 93 out of 100. I really loved this sandwich. If it were three or four dollars cheaper, it’d be among the very highest-rated sandwiches reviewed on this site. Even so, it’s a deserving Hall of Famer.