Cheeky Sandwiches: Gnawin’ on Nawlins
September 9, 2012
Cheeky Sandwiches from the outside – Keep an eye out or you might miss it!
To be honest, I don’t have much experience with Southern food. The world of fried green tomatoes, white sausage gravy and peach cobbler always seemed like a faraway fantasy. Perhaps this is what inspired me to “cross the Mason-Dixon” and hit up Cheeky Sandwiches.
Many of the full-bodied delights on the menu are Southern/New Orleans centric: biscuits, muffulettas and po boys with a healthy dose of seasoning and an abundant amount of fried components. As if that wasn’t enough to get your taste buds excited, Cheeky also keeps it old-school by carrying Zapp’s chips (from New Orleans) and Fitz’s sodas (from St. Louis).
Determined to try a little of everything, A. and I shared a chicken biscuit sandwich, a veggie muffuletta and a bag of Zapp’s “Spicy Cajun Crawtators” potato chips.
Two words: Golden. Brown.The chicken biscuit sandwich features a hearty slab of juicy fried chicken cradled by a blanket of white gravy studded with bits of sausage. The combination is both potently meaty and deadly addictive. The biscuit crumbles with each bite into a blissful, buttery oblivion.
But, you may wonder, “Is it too rich?”
It isn’t. A bright, tangy red cabbage slaw comes in at the critical moment and saves the entire sandwich from greasey hell. At just $6.50, this compact flavor-bomb may, in fact, be the perfect cure for a night of heavy drinking.
How did they inject so much flavor into a sandwich?Although I may have never had an authentic muffuletta, even I knew that my veggie muffuletta didn’t exactly qualify as one. Doesn’t matter. This sandwich was great, irrespective of its name or origin. Stuffed between two crusty slices of olive bread, the chopped pickles (cauliflower, carrots and more olives, I believe) sang sweet harmony against fresh tomatoes and melted Swiss. It was unlike any vegetarian sandwich I've had before. There was no adding of “meatier” ingredients like eggplant, roasted peppers or avocado. There was no toasted multigrain bread. It was just simple, homey and most importantly, delicious. With a price of $7.25, the veggie muffletta, too, was a steal.
These chips could have used a bit more kick.Zapp's "Spicy Cajun Crawtators" potato chips were a crunchy and rather salty end to our meal. I was slightly disappointed with the Cajun flavor, since it mostly tasted like BBQ chips with a slight Old Bay after taste. However, with about 10 other flavors available, I'm going to stay optimistic about Zapp's.
It’s no dispute that Cheeky has great food. But for me, what really earned this small shop 4 stars out of a possible 5 was the combination of food, service and ambiance.
Sandwich love under a hot, tin roof.The interior of Cheeky Sandwiches boasts no pretensions. It’s a fun and comforting place filled with murals and old knickknacks. While sitting at the counter and watching the cook prepare orders, it was very easy to enjoy our food.
I love the yellow.
A quaint, little eating counter.On top of this, the service was great. When making the veggie muffuleta, the guy behind the counter noticed that the first sandwich was a little on the small side. He then made us another one to compensate. And, He even came up and offered to take our second veggie sandwich to the back and keep it warm (so that the Swiss cheese stays melted) while we ate our first one.
Behind-the-counter-Guy taking orders and being awesome.All in all, Cheeky Sandwiches was an excellent foray into Southern eating and an even more excellent way to experience true Southern hospitality.
35 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002