One of the greatest gifts to the sandwich world, the Underground Gourmet has always said, is Sullivan St. Bakery’s 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 SSB’s flauto, an even better sandwich bread that SSB’s 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 d’être to pull a Houdini and disappear into the sandwich.
Lahey also has a great unsung talent for sandwich-making, as evidenced by SSB’s revolving lunchtime selection including a terrific house-made roast beef, a Cubano that is so good it doesn’t even need to be pressed, and a PBM (pancetta, basil, and mango) that is this doyen of dough’s 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 càuda 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