We had the undeniable pleasure of dropping by the Bowery Hotel to sample on various types of sandwiches at Thrillist’s first Hall of Heroes competition. The Bowery Hotel Terrace area, where Thrillist’s event was held, is a beautiful space. There are two large bars, a glass-enclosed room with a lot of sunlight, a billiards table, and an outdoors area to enjoy the weather (though today was a bit cold to be sitting outside). It wasn’t the first time I’d been to the location, as my old job used to have its galas here.
The Hall of Heroes’s vision was to bring together different types of sandwiches, ranging from fried chicken to pastrami to ice cream, and see which iteration came out on top. We arrived 15 minutes early and stood at the front of the line to catch the best pictures we could before the majority of the crowd would arrive. Each guest was handed a small booklet with the names of the vendors participating and a red token to be used to vote for the best dish. Here’s a list of some of our favorites:
- Sticky’s Finger Joint’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich: chicken fingers, pickles, Sticky’s special sauce, purple slaw, and hot sauce on potato bun. Verdict: DELICIOUS. We are both a huge fan of Sticky’s, especially their creative spins on traditional American fare, Chicken Fingers. If you haven’t tried their restaurant before, I strongly recommend taking a few friends and splitting the various dishes. As for the sandwich, the chicken was perfectly fried and the pickle/slaw combination added an acidity that helped balance out what could have been a greasy disaster.
- Cafe Habana’s Cuban: marinated pork, sliced ham, swiss, pickles, and spicy mayo pressed on a roll. Verdict: LIFE CHANGING. I have never liked cubans because of the pickles, but the combination that Cafe Habana pulls off with its super moist, pulled-pork tenderly blanketed by salty ham, blended together by the vinegary pickles was a majestic feat. To top it off, the chipotle mayo was finger-licking good (definitely got some judging eyes while sucking my fingers).
- Union Bar & Kitchen’s The Morning After: panko-crusted pork, fired egg, hot-mustard infused tonkatsu sauce, and pickled ginger on an English Muffin. Verdict: UBER UNIQUE. Sonia was immediately blown away by the fact that the sandwich had perfectly cooked, sunny-side-up eggs jiggling their yellow semi-circles like some provocative dancer (ours had TWO yolks!). Taking a bite, both of us were surprised by how well the sweet sauce of the tonkatsu took the dish to amazing new heights. The only drawback was the necessary ingredient of time that it took to make the eggs, which led it to creating huge lines…
- American Cut’s Reuben: pastrami, fermented slaw, Russian dressing, and Jarlsberg cheese on rye bread. Verdict: INCOMPARABLE. The crispness of the bread, the strong flavors from the dressing and the cheese, and the impossibly aromatic and juicy meats made American Cut’s sandwich a dish that stood out from the rest. Each bite was like a taste of manna from heaven. The quality of the meat really shined through.
There were plenty of other options, like fan-favorite Luke’s Lobster with a rotating offering of their lobster, shrimp, and crab. Also in attendance were Whitman’s Cheesesteaks that melted in our mouths and plenty of alcohol to wash down those carbs (yes, with more carbs). Thrillist events are always nothing short of perfection, and the Hall of Heroes was no exception.