My ongoing quest to devour all 101 of New York’s best sandwiches has so far brought me to Alidoro, Banh Mi Saigon, Murray’s Cheese Shop, Parm and Red Hook Lobster Pound. Now at #55, it’s Despaña. This place is a Spanish food importer, bringing a variety of cheeses, cured meats, chocolate, soda and more. Founded in 1971 as a chorizo factory, they have since expanded to serve bocadillos (read: sandwiches), tapas, flautas, salads and pintxos or small sampling bites. They even have a wine shop next door.
I was there for a bocadillo. The list suggested one called the Picante, which consisted of Despana’s own Chorizo Picante, Mahon cow’s milk cheese, Piparras (spicy guindilla peppers from the Basque region), fresh tomato and aioli. Delicious as that may sound, the siren of Serrano Ham was calling my name and I was drawn to the aptly named, Despaña. This gem involved generous amounts of Serrano ham, creamy goat cheese from Murcia and an awesome tomato-garlic spread. Very simple, so as to let the ham do the talking. All of Despaña’s bocadillos are served on artisan Ciabatta which is airy, crusty and can be compacted to the size of any mouth, oh and it’s delicious.
Despaña did not disappoint. The ham was perfect, moist, tender with a great saltiness leveled out by the smooth and creamy goat cheese. The tomato-garlic spread joined the party by adding a complimentary sweetness with a kick at the end from the garlic. I washed this beauty down with a Kas, which I figured to be the Spanish version of San Pelligrino’s Aranciata, or even my personal heroin, Orangina. I have to say it wasn’t a bad substitute.www.despañanyc.com
I think it’s safe to assume that any place that displays whole pig legs in the window is going to have something special to offer. I didn’t even get to sample all the different pork products or cheese available, but I plan to. So far, the sandwich list hasn’t lead me astray. I’m only six sandos in, but things are looking good. Until next time!Despaña – 408 Broome St. New York, NY – 212.219.5050 • www.despananyc.com