Monday, March 9, 2009

Sophie's Cuban

35. Sophie’s Cuban
369 Lexington between 41st and 40th (Various locations)

I was fortunate to convince a number of my coworkers to come with me to Sophie’s, as they are usually reluctant to accompany me on any of my food excursions (save for a select few). We arrived to a bustling yet orderly theater in which tables available for a sit-down lunch were juxtaposed to two lines for take-out (one for sandwiches only, the other for their various platters). After quickly learning the rules of the game, we split up into the respective lines. I ordered the fried pork sandwich and the Midtownlunch sandwich challenge entry, the pernil with a twist to share ($6.00 each).

The fried pork sandwich, voted top sandwich for 2008 on offers chunks of fried pork, sweet plantains and stir-fried onions, served on a toasted hero roll. The pork is tender, the plantains are soft and sweet and the onions add the perfect amount of crunch to the sandwich. I’m actually very tempted to go get one now as I’m writing this. It’s that good, and I’m almost embarrassed that I’ve never gotten one before. Taste. Value. Creativity. To me, these are the most important criteria by which midtown lunch foods should be judged. The fried pork sandwich from Sophie’s Cuban has not only conquered the trifecta, but vaulted itself into midtown lunch and sandwich royalty.

The “pernil with a twist” sandwich marks another strong entry into the Midtownlunch challenge. It uses roast pork which is almost like a pulled pork, plantains, onions and a green sauce which tastes like an offshoot of guacamole. If you find that the fried pork sandwich is too dry, I would definitely suggest trying the pernil with a twist instead, though for me, it’s all about the original. My coworkers sampled the platters ($8.00) which offer generous portions of juicy turkey marinated in a spicy tomato sauce and served with a choice of two sides (rice, beans, plantains, fries). For those that are used to ordering stir-fry from any number of places for lunch, I would strongly suggest switching up the routine with a platter. After Sophie’s, I have a feeling my coworkers will be willing to come with me to lunch again.

Outside of Sophie's

Pernil with a twist

Pernil with a twist

Fried Pork Sandwich:

Turkey Platter:

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