Au Cheval

For one of the simplest dishes - bread, filling, done - sandwiches are pretty great, aren't they? And during a Chicago summer, they're the ideal food to toss in a bag and take to eat at the park or on the beach. Here are 10 sandwiches to try this summer that span from highbrow to lowbrow, brand new to classic, and traditional to off-the-wall. Dig in.


Lobster Roll at Acadia (1639 S. Wabash Ave.)

What's summer without a lobster roll? The undisputed king of lobster rolls is the one at Acadia, where Ryan McCaskey has fresh lobsters flown in from Maine every day. He poaches the lobster and dresses it with paprika and chives. It's as simple as can be, and that's what summer eating demands.

Chicago-Style Tofu at Handlebar (2311 W. North Ave.)

Vegetarians rejoice-here's one Chicago-style dish for you. The Chicago-style tofu sandwich at Handlebar layers pesto tofu, giardiniera, roasted garlic aioli, Dijon, arugula, tomato, and a sprinkle of celery salt on focaccia. It nails all the flavors you'd find in a Chicago dog, and it's just as delicious. 

Fried Chicken Biscuit Sandwich at Endgrain (1851 W. Addison St.)

Newly opened restaurant Endgrain does two things really well-fried chicken and biscuits. Combine the two in the fried chicken biscuit sandwich, which places chicken, smoked mashed potatoes, pork gravy, and greens between halves of the crunchy, buttery biscuits.

Milanesa Torta at Xoco (449 N. Clark St.)

At Rick Bayless' Xoco, the debate is always whether to go for breakfast and have the chorizo torta or lunch and have one of the many great meat and veggie-filled sandwiches. My current favorite is the Milanesa, a flavorful composition that includes crispy chicken, black beans, cheese, pickled jalapenos, tomatillo-avocado salsa, and homemade cilantro crema.

Ba Le Special at Ba Le (various locations)

Chicago has tons of great bánh mi options, and choosing just one is hard. But for convenience, you can't beat Ba Le, which has three locations in the city. Try the Ba Le Special, a meat-lover's dream, filled with pate, ham, headcheese, and pork roll, plus pickled veggies, jalapenos, mayo, and cilantro.

Fried Bologna at Au Cheval (800 W. Randolph St.)

The burger gets all the attention at nouveau diner Au Cheval, but here's how I tackle the menu-convince my dining companion to split both the burger and a bologna sandwich. The sandwich has a towering stack of mortadella, made in house, plus melted cheese and a brioche bun. It's a far cry from the bologna you grew up with.

CB&J at Hopleaf (5148 N. Clark St.)

Another childhood favorite, the PB&J, gets an upgrade at Hopleaf. The CB&J uses house-made cashew butter and fig jam, and further improves the sandwich with melted Morbier cheese and sourdough bread.

Pork Loin at Scofflaw (3201 W. Armitage Ave.)

My new favorite bar food, the pork loin sandwich at Scofflaw layers pork, broccoli raab, garlic, and provolone. It's simple, delicious, and best served alongside a cocktail.

Open-faced sandwiches at Duran European Sandwiches (529 N. Milwaukee Ave.)

Vienna-based Duran European Sandwiches opened a U.S. location earlier this year, and there you'll find lots of tiny, adorable open-faced sandwiches. Select three for $10, and pick from options like curried egg salad, Hungarian salami, roast beef with chive cream cheese, and others.

Mr. G at J.P. Graziano (901 W. Randolph St.)

The house special sandwich tastes like Italy on a roll - there's provolone, hot sopressata, Prosciutto di Parma, Volpi genoa salami, truffle mustard balsamic vinaigrette, hot oil, marinated artichokes, fresh basil, lettuce, red wine vinegar, and oregano.  

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