Living in NYC everyone has an opinion about...well, everything. That goes triple for food. We're hardcore about authenticity, sticklers for quality, and love supporting local eateries (and no Shake Shack doesn't count--opening up in Russian malls officially kills your NYC street cred in my book). So that this post doesn't quickly slide down a food rabbit hole, and devolve into a Grateful Dead-like endless Yelp riff, today I'm just talking sandwiches.
Sure, sometimes I'm in the mood for something crazy innovative, but most of the time I want something classic, with years of crafted perfection in each bite. There was a time when NYC had places like this in spades, but oh times have changed. And while some pretty authentic joints remain that are still churning out commendable food, they've lost a little something. Catering to the double-decker bus crowd will do that to you.
One local place that has thankfully remained under the radar, partly due to its location, is called Fiore's. Admittedly, it's not actually in NYC (oh the sacrilege!)--it's in Hoboken, which IMHO, is more a part of NYC than Staten Island (sorry guys, a subway goes to Hoboken and baseball was born there). Fiore's makes many a tasty sandwich (usually with their obscenely rich, fresh mozzarella), but what it truly elevates to Exile on Main Street-like status is the Roast Beef sandwich. It's only made on Thursdays and Saturdays for lunch (the gall) and when they're out, you're SOL. There's a line out the door starting at 11AM with cop cars, construction trucks, and Ubers double parked outside (despite the fact they have parking which no one seems to know about or care for).
Is it really worth the hike? After all how great can something with only three components--house roasted beef, house made mozzarella, and jus--really be? That's a rhetorical and potentially metaphysical question, and I don't want to get into it. Suffice to say each ingredient and each sandwich is perfectly executed. Every. Single. Time. The beef is just rare enough, thinly sliced and perfectly tender; the mozzarella was Sinatra's favorite (nuff said); and the beefy jus just brings it all together. It's like a French dip without doing all the ridiculous dipping (what kind of sandwich makes you go through a process anyway??). The ingredients just melt together into such a perfect union, you can hardly distinguish between the rich fresh mozzarella and the roast beef. And you have to eat (read: inhale) it quickly, before the bread (yes, it's a necessary holding device) greedily sops up all of the jus and just throws the whole tenuous balance to hell.
If you're going to Fiore's, here's some local knowledge: 1) Bring cash, don't worry the sandwich is like $7 (reason alone to love this place) 2) get there before noon to avoid lines 3) grab whatever bread and drink you want BEFORE you get on line (lest you look like a rookie) 4) ask for roast beef, mutz (oh just say it, it's fun) and extra gravy 5) grab a handful of paper towels because you just asked for extra gravy, and finally 6) walk over to a nearby park--or for those of you who don't believe in theoretical constructs like property rights--sit on someone else's stoop, and enjoy!
Fiore's - 414 Adams St. - Hoboken