Check Out These NB Sandwich Spots
Some people simply view sandwiches as sustenance between sliced bread. Thankfully, many restaurateurs with more imagination see sandwiches as endless opportunities for comfort and culinary creativity. Since August is National Sandwich Month, we bring you a variety of Newport Beach spots that serve up sandwiches to take note of.
Max Schultz, Matt Meddock and Beckham Thomas delivered this neighborhood destination to the Balboa Peninsula in 2013. The space showcases reclaimed wood, Astroturf, and rotating surf videos. The motto at Sessions is “Sun’s Out, Buns Out,” so of course sandwiches dominate. This deluxe deli has created sandwiches you won’t find anywhere else, including the Geno, named for local surfer Gene “Sliding Machine” Petersen. His smooth moves in the water inspired a sandwich with hormone-free roast turkey, bacon jam, habanero puree, jalapeño jack, guacamole, cherry peppers, shredded iceberg lettuce, and Sriracha aioli on a French roll. In cooler months, they bust out the Terrance Knighton, named for the massive Washington Redskins defensive tackle. This beast of a sandwich combines 5-hour pot roast, caramelized onion, atomic cole slaw, and blackberry Dijon basil gastrique on toasted brioche.
This fast casual café resides across from Hoag Health Center, right up the hill from Balboa Coves and the gateway to Balboa Peninsula. The space features brown tables under brown umbrellas, an airy dining room with bamboo accents and overhead menus. Café 538 is open weekdays for breakfast, lunch and coffee. Sandwiches are available on a choice of six different breads: sourdough, whole wheat, French roll, white, squaw or ciabatta. One popular option is the Italian sub with salami, mortadella, capacolla, pepperoncini, red onion, Provolone and Italian dressing.
Jared Jones and Mac Carlson named this “rustic surfer style” restaurant on Balboa Peninsula for the tube that forms when a wave starts breaking, which provides a momentarily epic surfing opportunity. The glass fronted space features reclaimed wood, tabletops lined with pennies, and a tantalizing menu of flatbread pizzas, salads, burgers and sandwiches. Tri-tip and chicken are popular fillings, but no sandwich can match The Playa Cubano, which features citrus-braised pork, smoked ham, Swiss cheese, house-made pickles, and Dijonnaise on a pressed French roll.
This Corona del Mar business dates to 1973, when Joe Gallo opened the shop. Now, Magdi Hanna runs Gallo’s Italian Deli, which features a blue awning, white walls and limited seating, though many people take their food to the nearby beach. Gallo’s Deli is best known for hot and cold subs, perhaps none more popular than Gallo’s Combo: cotto salami, mortadella, turkey, Provolone, lettuce, tomato, oil, vinegar and diced veggies. If you’re looking to keep things hot, go with the meatball sandwich or Hot Pickler with pastrami, Provolone, pickles, avocado and mayo.
This space features art-lined walls (concrete and pale blue), floors that form a grey and white chevron pattern, and a surprisingly elaborate chandelier. Order at the worn wood counter and sit at a mismatched wood table. The small menu features classics with subtle twists. For instance, the Ham sandwich also touts goat cheese, avocado, mixed greens and cranberries. Each sandwich, whether it’s turkey, a tuna melt or chipotle chicken, comes with a small salad
Culinary Institute of America grad Norm Bennett and business partner Jon Brown run a thriving catering and event company called 24 Carrots and operate several cafés around town located at friendly office parks and the Newport beach Library & Civic Center. On weekdays, businesspeople descend on these fast casual cafés to load up on sandwiches and salads. Green Chile Chicken is just one top seller, teaming grilled chicken with pasilla chiles, melted tomatoes and pepper Jack cheese on a potato bun.
This Westcliff Plaza Shopping Center bakery and café features a red and tan front. Indoors, pastries and cakes tempt customers from behind display cases, and they taunt further with wall-mounted photos of key baked goods. Order at the counter and take your number to a wood table, or to sidewalk tables with red umbrellas that shield diners from the sun. Sandwiches utilize house-baked bread and primarily stick with the French pantheon, though they do make shout outs to international hubs like Havana with the Cubano and Italy with a Caprese. Their Merguez Sandwich combines Kosher lamb, harissa, garlic mayo, tomatoes, cornichons and French fries in a baguette. Each sandwich includes a choice of organic green salad or French fries.
This Corona del Mar spot features a blue awning that depicts the Eiffel Tower. Clearly, you’re in store for French cuisine. The jam-packed interior features wood tables, plenty of inviting pastry cases, and some serious sandwiches. Looking for cool fillings? Le Provencal combines tuna, romaine, tomatoes, onions, hard-boiled egg, black olives, olive oil, and fresh basil on baguette. When it comes to hot sandwiches, nothing is more flavorful (or photogenic) than the classic croque madame with ham and molten Gruyere, topped with a fried egg.
This French bakery and café resides across PCH from Balboa Bay. The space features a tan façade, a refrigerated display case containing plenty of tempting tarts and cakes, blackboard menus and yellow walls. House-baked baguettes, whole wheat bread and croissants provide a blank slate for customizable sandwiches. Choose your key ingredient like chicken curry, roast beef or turkey. Add a cheese like Cheddar, Brie or Havarti. Dress with condiments like Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, or balsamic vinaigrette. Choose toppings like lettuce, sprouts or tomato to round out the sandwich. Your last decision comes down to whether you crave a sandwich that spans six, nine or 12 inches.
This “Local grub shack” from “Top Chef” cheftestant Brian Huskey is so close to Corona del Mar State Beach that you should probably watch your back for waves. Okay, maybe not, but the views of the water and sand are pretty amazing from the umbrella-shielded picnic tables. Huskey serves plenty of creative rolls from a window, including a Maine Lobster roll on a squid ink roll with romaine and Old Bay aioli. His Cali cheesesteak is also a hit thanks to the seamless melding of griddled meat, fried peppers, crispy onions and molten white American cheese.