Who doesn't love a good sandwich? Inexpensive, easy to grab and appealing to eat, a successful one has to get the flavors of an entire meal into a single bite.
You know a truly great sandwich by the quality of its components, the synergy that binds them together and the elation that comes from eating it.
This year's crop of favorite sandwich stars includes a varied array -- from an Italian Cuban to a Vietnamese banh mi to a short-rib grilled cheese sandwich. Get your hands around these.
Selections by Newsday's food staff.
Corleone panino at Umberto's
Corleone panino at Umberto's, Manhasset: It's hard to refuse the Corleone panino (featuring fried chicken, broccoli rabe, fresh mozzarella and cherry peppers) at this Italian spot.
Cuban sandwich at BabaluNY
Cuban sandwich at BabaluNY, Huntington: BabaluNY's Cuban sandwich is filled with Serrano ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, housemade mustard and pickles, then pressed in ciabatta bread.
Po'boys at Catch Oyster Bar
Po'boys at Catch Oyster Bar, Patchogue: Po'boy sandwiches star oysters or shrimp at Catch Oyster Bar in Patchogue.
Chicken gyro sandwich at Yiasou Yeeros
Chicken gyro sandwich at Yiasou Yeeros, Plainview: The chicken gyro sandwich is rolled in a pita with French fries at Yiasou Yeeros.
The Ball Buster sandwich at That Meetball Place
The Ball Buster sandwich at That Meetball Place, Farmingdale: This sandwich features spicy chorizo meatballs, lettuce, carmelized onion, tomato jam and garlic roasted mayo.
Shrimp po'boy at Wildfeast
Shrimp po'boy at Wildfeast, Long Beach: Wildfeast's shrimp po'boy is made with big, wild-caught American shrimp.
Porchetta panozzi at Naples Street Food
Porchetta panozzi at Naples Street Food, Franklin Square: At Naples Street Food, don't skip the porchetta panozzi, a pork sandwich of the kind you'd find in Italian bakeries. It's served on pizza dough fashioned for a sandwich, so the bread is light and airy with a crisp exterior. Order it with broccoli rabe or roasted peppers, arugula or sauteed eggplant. Be sure to watch the graceful act as it's drizzled with oil before serving.
Pork belly bocadillo at Salumi Tapas & Wine Bar
Pork belly bocadillo at Salumi Tapas & Wine Bar, Massapequa: The braised pork belly bocadillo on a housemade roll is dressed with kimchi, cilantro and sesame mayo.
Ham and cheese toasted sandwich at American Beauty Bistro
Ham and cheese toasted sandwich at American Beauty Bistro, Massapequa: This crispy, melty ham and cheese toasted sandwich also features truffle oil and garlic aioli.
Seafood Po-Boy at Main Road Biscuit Co.
Seafood Po-Boy at Main Road Biscuit Co., Jamesport: The Seafood Po-Boy is made with shrimp and housemade tartar, and plated with smashed local spuds at this eatery.
Spicy BLT-A at Cafe Revue by Raquette River Baking Co.
Spicy BLT-A at Cafe Revue by Raquette River Baking Co., Huntington: At this spot tucked inside Book Revue, consider the knockout spicy BLT-A with Benton's bacon, arugula, tomato, avocado and sriracha mayonnaise on rosemary focaccia, served with chips, a salad or a cookie for $11.
Cuban sandwich at Karamba
Cuban sandwich at Karamba, Hampton Bays: The Cuban sandwich at Karamba has the right amount of salt from the ham and pickles, and melted cheese from the slice of Swiss, but the star is the slow-roasted, succulent, shredded pork. Order it without mayo to keep things traditional.
Fried fish sandwich at The North Fork Shack
Fried fish sandwich at The North Fork Shack, Southold: This very fresh fish sandwich is topped with lettuce, tomato and Old Bay aioli.
Pollo loco torta at Nelly's Taqueria
Pollo loco torta at Nelly's Taqueria, Hicksville: This sandwich features chicken, lettuce, tomato, guacamole, refried beans and Mexican cheese on a tortoise bun.
Croque madame at Flour Shoppe Cafe
Croque madame at Flour Shoppe Cafe, Rockville Centre: If you're looking for something with a little heft, try this sandwich, with country ham, aged Cheddar, fried egg, Mornay sauce and chives.
Porchetta sandwich at Off the Block Kitchen & Meats
Porchetta sandwich at Off the Block Kitchen & Meats, Sayville: The porchetta sandwich features sauteed spinach, tomato confit and grated Parmesan at this Sayville eatery.
Cheesesteak at Industry Standard Bar
Cheesesteak at Industry Standard Bar, Greenport: The cheesesteak at here points to kitchen head Greg Ling's Philadelphia roots, with shaved rib eye blanketed with a choice of provolone, Swiss or homemade beer wiz.
Chicken schnitzel sandwich at River Mill Tavern and Tables
Chicken schnitzel sandwich at River Mill Tavern and Tables, Lynbrook: The chicken schnitzel sandwich, updated with apple, bacon, maple honey and Fontina cheese, is a hearty order at this eatery.
Pastruben at Relish
Pastruben at Relish, Kings Park: This lush combo goes the conventional Reuben one better by the inclusion of both pastrami and corned beef, combined with the classic components of sauerkraut, melted Swiss and Russian dressing. Then, it's all grilled together on marble rye. Served with hand-cut fries, onion "strings" or coleslaw.
Italian Cuban at Tony Cuban Cucina & Cocktails
Italian Cuban at Tony Cuban Cucina & Cocktails, Freeport: Cuba meets Italy in this wacky and wonderful sandwich. It starts with the makings of a classic Cubano: roasted pork, Swiss cheese and pickles. Added to that such Italian fixings as Genoa salami, prosciutto and pesto mayonnaise. Somehow, the whole thing works -- deliciously. Served with choice of salad, fries or black bean soup.
Pastrami sandwich at Pastrami Express
Pastrami sandwich at Pastrami Express, Seaford: There's nothing quite like homemade corned beef or pastrami. And now there's a new destination in Seaford where you can get it.
Roasted Porchetta Hero at Brixx & Barley
Roasted Porchetta Hero at Brixx & Barley, Long Beach: Roasted suckling pig, rubbed with orange zest, which flecks its juices. It's brought together with broccoli rabe and provolone inside a garlic baguette. Served with a choice of Tater Tots or fries, plus red cabbage slaw.
Classic BLT at North Fork Bacon & Smokehouse
Classic BLT at North Fork Bacon & Smokehouse, Wading River: At this smokehouse that cures its own bacon, the classic BLT is, understandably, a standout. The sandwich is simply loaded with bacon that's dark, smoky and intense. Bibb lettuce, local heirloom tomatoes (when in season) and smoked garlic mayo join the mix. Served with a choice of coleslaw, macaroni, or potato salad. Fries or onion rings, $1 extra. Open only Friday to Sunday.
Adam's Rib Melted Cheese at Mac & Melts
Adam's Rib Melted Cheese at Mac & Melts, Garden City: At this counter-serve spot specializing in mac and cheese and grilled-cheese sandwiches, this mellow and meltingly good sandwich features braised short rib, Cheddar and brown gravy on sourdough, all grilled together. Served with chips.
Corned beef sandwich at Tulip Caterers
Corned beef sandwich at Tulip Caterers, Franklin Square: For sandwiches, Tulip slices a full half pound of corned beef. Two slices of rye bread, a generous squirt of mustard (A. Bauer's, established 1888) and you've got a sandwich fit for a king or two.
Roast chicken sandwich at Louisiana Joe's Sandwich Shop
Roast chicken sandwich at Louisiana Joe's Sandwich Shop, Oceanside: Pan-roasted chicken gets an assist from arugula, pesto, olives, red pepper mayonnaise and fresh mozzarella at this eatery.
Cuban Sandwich at Rincon Criollo
Cuban Sandwich at Rincon Criollo, Huntington Station: Where better than an authentic Cuban restaurant to get your hands around an authentic Cuban sandwich? This one, grill-pressed on Cuban bread, features roast pork, cooked ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and some mustard. A true classic that's not on the menu but always available.
Banh Mi with Grilled Hash Pork at Pho Maxia
Banh Mi with Grilled Hash Pork at Pho Maxia Vietnamese Restaurant, Westbury: At this authentically Vietnamese spot, the French-influenced sandwich called the banh mi may be ordered with a filling of chicken or pate, but it works best a with what the menu calls grilled hash pork, essentially a pork burger. Everything is bundled into a baguette with lettuce, pickled carrot, cilantro and cucumber.
Ahi Tuna Sandwich at Old Fields
Ahi Tuna Sandwich at Old Fields, Greenlawn: A seared tuna steak is crowned with olive tapenade, pepperoncini and basil aioli before being placed atop a butter-grilled brioche roll. This one can change the way you look at a tuna sandwich. Served with fries, salad or slaw.
Chicken Cubanita at La Cubanita Deli
Chicken Cubanita at La Cubanita Deli, Bay Shore: To make La Cubanita's bestselling sandwich, the counterman takes a cleaver to a fried chicken leg (thighs and drumsticks), removes the meat and skin and roughly chops them. A French roll is slathered with Hellmann's mayo and the meat is heaped inside and anointed with Goya hot sauce. The sandwich goes into the press to emerge, a few minutes later, hot, crusty, juicy and savory.
Pulled Pork Panino at Crazy Beans
Pulled Pork Panino at Crazy Beans, Stony Brook: This whimsical restaurant serves stellar sandwiches including the meltingly good head honcho sandwich, with grilled steak, fried onions, Cheddar and ranch dressing on a rustic roll, and an irresistible pulled pork panino, a rich confluence of pork, pepper jack cheese, fried pickles, coleslaw and a spicy Cajun sauce on grilled sourdough. Other location in Miller Place.
Deli Double at Ben's Kosher Delicatessen
Deli Double, Ben's Kosher Delicatessen, Carle Place: In 1972, Ronnie Dragoon opened his first deli in Baldwin, naming it after his father, who owned Ben's Deli on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Dragoon's empire now includes three Long Island restaurants, one in Manhattan, one in Bayside, Queens, and one in Boca Raton, Florida. There is no central commissary; every store makes its own knishes and soups, cures its own corned beef and pastrami. Enjoy both on the deli double, served on twin junior rolls. Other locations are in Greenvale and Woodbury.
Paulie Special at Kensington Kosher Delicatessen
Paulie Special at Kensington Kosher Delicatessen, Great Neck: Getting the job done in style since 1975 when Paul Saberito opened the store with (now silent) partner Oscar Rathaus, about 10 years ago Saberito introduced the Paulie special (pictured), featuring house-baked brisket, gravy and horseradish sauce on a toasted sesame-seed roll. In total, you'll find about a dozen classic sandwiches, and another dozen featuring various combinations of the classic fillings. (Here's the place to order a chopped liver and pastrami on rye.)
The Prego at La Bottega
The Prego at La Bottega, Garden City: The list of panini is both extensive and well-executed. Try the solid savona panino, grilled chicken breast with fresh mozzarella, tomatillo sauce and tomato, or the firecracker ascoli, slow-roasted chunks of suckling pig, fresh mozzarella, broccoli rabe and spicy red peppers on a rustic round bread. Also: the prego (pictured), with prosciutto, sauteed spinach, grilled red onions and fontina cheese on krispina. For other good things on bread, try the crostini.
Classic Pastrami Sandwich at Lido Kosher Deli
Classic Pastrami Sandwich at Lido Kosher Deli, Long Beach: Lido Deli has been keeping Long Beach in (homemade) knishes since 1930, when Wally Goetz's grandfather, Hugo Weinberg, opened the store. Another of Weinberg's grandsons runs Grand Kosher in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where the deli's luscious pastrami, corned beef and tongue are cured. The gourmet's delight sandwich features all three, with coleslaw and Russian dressing. If you dine early, you may be able to catch some of the succulent dark-meat turkey before the day's fresh roasted bird is gone. Have it on rye bread with a smear of mustard and mourn a lifetime of dry turkey sandwiches. Or go for a classic pastrami sandwich (pictured).
Pork-Belly-Porchetta BLT at Roast Sandwich House
Pork-Belly-Porchetta BLT at Roast Sandwich House, Melville: The pork-belly-porchetta BLT, a special at this spot, is a symphony of porkiness. To make it, the cook splits a pretzel roll, lays a slice of Cheddar onto one half and slips it into the oven. While the cheese melts, he takes a nice, fat slab of porchetta (a sort of pork-belly roulade) and sears it, along with some thick-cut bacon, on the flattop with some butter. To assemble the sandwich, he slathers coarse-grained mustard aioli on the now-warm bun, piles on the porchetta, the bacon, some arugula tossed with sherry vinaigrette and a tomato slice. Take a bite at your own risk.
Pastrami King Special at Pastrami King
Pastrami King Special at Pastrami King, Merrick: With a style and history similar to kosher-style delis, this spot serves non-kosher items such as bacon. Don't expect anything less than a stellar pastrami sandwich, including the Pastrami King special (pictured), a triple decker with pastrami, corned beef, roast beef and salami at Pastrami King in Merrick. Also entirely satisfying: the corned beef and tongue sandwiches.
Meatball Margherita at Red Tomato
Meatball Margherita at Red Tomato, East Norwich: The restaurant's wood-burning oven isn't just for the top-notch pizzas: It's maximized to bake bread, resulting in such sandwiches as the meatball Margherita (pictured),which starts with ciabatta fashioned of pizza dough that's stuffed with a load of light, savory little meatballs in a bright marinara sauce and capped with a melt of fresh mozzarella. The same bread is the base of an Italian BLT -- prosciutto, arugula and Roma tomatoes.
Pastrami on Rye at Pastrami Plus
Pastrami on Rye at Pastrami Plus, East Meadow: Since 2003, longtime deli man Sal Gawish, who once worked at Brooklyn's legendary but now departed Grabstein's in Canarsie, has focused on gustatory gratification at his bare-bones little kosher-style deli. Here, he makes everything (except square knishes) himself. His fat-filled, peppery pastrami on rye (pictured), served with pickles and coleslaw, deserves an A-plus.
No. 13 at Press 195
No. 13 at Press 195, Rockville Centre: Sandwiches are at the center of this Long Island offshoot of a Brooklyn original. Favorites among the hot press sandwiches: No. 13 (pictured, with maple basil pesto sauce, fresh mozzarella, tomato and proscuitto di Parma), No. 10 (prosciutto, mozzarella, tomato), No. 9 (house-roasted pork, cilantro, Monterey Jack, jalapeños, roasted garlic spread) and No. 28 (grilled eggplant, roasted red pepper, smoked Gouda, garlic spread).
Banh Mi Sandwich at Rolling Spring Roll
Banh Mi Sandwich at The Rolling Spring Roll, Farmingdale: At this stellar Vietnamese restaurant, chef-owner Joe Bui offers the classic French-Vietnamese banh mi sandwich. Served on toasted French bread, it may be ordered with chicken or beef, but the most authentic version features house-made pork belly and pork sausage with fresh herbs, cucumber and pickled carrots and radishes. It's comfort with a sweet-tart-herbal kick.
Corned Beef Sandwich at Zan's Kosher Delicatessen
Corned Beef Sandwich at Zan's Kosher Delicatessen, Lake Grove: This cheerful spot cures its own meats and does so expertly. The corned beef sandwich (pictured) is especially winning. Also stellar is its PLT (pastrami, lettuce, tomato), all-out debauchery salty, fatty, peppery meat, crisped on the grill and piled just high enough so you can get your mouth around it, plus Hellmann's mayo and rye toast.
Daily sandwiches at Farm Country Kitchen
Daily sandwiches at Farm Country Kitchen, Riverhead: In a charming little house set back from the main road, chef-owner Tom Carson defines his distinctive panini as small sandwiches on grilled bread. His menu changes daily and might feature breaded chicken with broccoli rabe and sundried tomato pesto on grilled rosemary bread or marinated flank steak with melted fontina on garlic brick-oven bread with tomato salsa. It all depends on Carson's whim and what he finds at the market.