America's Top 10 Regional Sandwiches, as Interpreted by L.A.
New England–style lobster roll at Nelson's
Despite our reputation as carb-shamers, we Angelenos have a soft spot for a stellar sandwich. The city has a long tradition of delivering a unique take on meat-between-bread, stretching back at least a century — to when either Cole’s or Philippe’s (not touching that debate again) started slinging roast beef on baguette with a side of au jus. Although we can proudly proclaim the French dip as our own, it's but one in a sea of sandwiches styles distinct to their respective American region. And since L.A. is a city defined as much by its transplants as its natives, its culinary landscape must cater to one and all.
Pleasing eaters from all corners of the country is an ambitious mission, but an exhaustive expedition into L.A.'s sandwich scene suggests that the city has done justice to honoring the cheesesteaks, po' boys and lobster rolls originating in far-off regions. Here’s proof, in no particular order:
The Steel Curtain at Steel City Sandwich
Steel City Sandwich
Pittsburgh-Style (With Fries and Slaw): Steel City Sandwich Truck
More than 75 years ago, Primanti Brothers in Pittsburgh opted to put french fries and coleslaw inside its cold-cut sandwich rather than serving them on the side, as had been the custom with all seemingly rational humans before. The world took notice. Today, Western Pennsylvanians rave endlessly about this regional speciality as if it were some sort of earth-shattering innovation. You can judge for yourself at the Steel City Sandwich Truck, which we named the Best American Regional Food Truck last year. Steel City is devoted to the delicacies of its namesake metropolis. The colossally sized Steel Curtain is the one worth getting to know. It’s a deluge of pastrami, salami, bacon, ham, provolone, fried eggs and, of course, Italian slaw and hand-cut fries, all smashed betwixt thick-crusted white bread. Irresistible in all its glutenous, gluttonous glory. steelcitysandwich.com.
Fried chicken sandwich at Salt's Cure
Southern-Style Fried Chicken: Salt’s Cure
The fabulous fare of the South reaches its comfort-food crescendo with the fried chicken sandwich. Salt’s Cure in WeHo has a $10 weekly special built around free-range chicken broken down to cutlets in-house. A crisp buttermilk crust contrasts against the juicy, tender white meat. Its bright supporting cast includes slaw studded with carrots and spicy peppers, dill dressing and organic greens, all pinned by toothpick within a plump brioche. Plated with homemade potato crisps, its sole drawback is the limited availability; it's served on Wednesdays only. 7494 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; (323) 850-7258, saltscure.com
Brisket sandwich at Bludso's
Bludso's Bar & Que
Texas-Style Brisket: Bludso's Bar & Que
Kevin Bludso traces his barbecue heritage back to the Lone Star state. You can taste that pedigree in each bite of his slow-cooked, smoked brisket sandwich. A spiced char encases the dark pink meat hiding beneath; it's an uncanny re-creation of Texas' finest 'cue. Served on a simple, untoasted potato bun with raw onions and pickles, the thick-sliced brisket take centerstage. The $8 menu staple showcases Bludso's superior know-how — and will demand that you believe the hype. A welcome kick of jalapeño is worth the 50-cent upcharge. 609 N. La Brea Ave, Fairfax; (323) 931-2583, bludsosbbq.com
Carolina-style pulled pork sandwich at Boneyard Bistro
South Carolina–Style Pulled Pork: Boneyard Bistro
South Carolina is known for a specific style of barbecue, incorporating vinegar and mustard into its rubs and sauces. The ensuing tang and spice play particularly well with pulled pork. Easy to learn yet nearly impossible to perfect, pulled pork requires proper preparation lest the meat dry out before it hits the plate. Even though Sherman Oaks is a couple thousand miles from South Carolina's Midlands, you'll feel transported when you bite into the pulled pork sandwich at Boneyard Bistro. A generous serving of exceptionally moist, gently shredded swine is piled atop toasted brioche and joined by pickles, raw onions, slaw and sauce. The full flavors and ample juices unite in a Southern symphony. 13539 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; (818) 906-7427, boneyardbistro.com
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