One of the greatest gifts to the sandwich world, the Underground Gourmet has always said, is Sullivan St. Bakerys ciabatta. With its smallish size, not-too-dense crumb, and sturdy crust, it has, over the past decade or so, become the bread of choice for discriminating sandwich chewers all over town, and, consequently, as brazenly knocked off as a Gucci handbag.
What has gone practically unnoticed, though, is SSBs flauto, an even better sandwich bread that SSBs Jim Lahey stealthily introduced a year ago. It has an ideal ratio of crust-to-crumb: The crust is thin and crisp and much more delicate than the ciabatta but still capable of standing up to various fillings and dressings without folding under the pressure, while the crumb is supremely light and airy. Lahey describes it as an anti-bread bread, its raison dtre to pull a Houdini and disappear into the sandwich.
Lahey also has a great unsung talent for sandwich-making, as evidenced by SSBs revolving lunchtime selection including a terrific house-made roast beef, a Cubano that is so good it doesnt even need to be pressed, and a PBM (pancetta, basil, and mango) that is this doyen of doughs off-season answer to a BLT. His latest concoction hard-cooked duck egg layered over artichoke hearts and mozzarella moistened with a ramp-based bagna cuda dressing might be the most inspired yet, easily achieving its Sandwich of the Week status. Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld
Sullivan St. Bakery, 533 W. 47th St., nr. Eleventh Ave.; 212-265-5580