In New York, we don't have a massive Cuban population like Miami. But if you want to scout out a good Cuban sandwich you don't have to go too far. From tiny corner cafés in the Bronx to trendsetting cocktail bars in the LES, here are some of the stars in the metropolitan area, where every sandwich offers up a slight variation of the classic.
El Presidente: This Bronx favorite is usually mentioned whenever someone is talking about a Cuban sandwich and New York City. That's because it's a standard -- a well-executed Cubano with succulent roast pork, ham, a pickle slice, mayo, mustard and Swiss cheese on an Italian roll. It's not too soggy, not too dry and good all around.
3938 Broadway, Bronx; 212-927-7011
Cubana Social: Amidst Williamsburg's club strip on North 6th Street, the small Cubana Social, owned by Ted Nugent's son Ted Mann (only recently discovered), slings out quite a few decent Cuban eats, including their Cubano. It's snack-a-licious in the standard Cuban sandwich format, but uses prosciutto cotto instead of regular ham and their own house-made pickles.
70 North 6th St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-782-3334
Azucar: When Bobby Flay was searching for a Cuban sandwich for his "Throwdown," he didn't head to Miami; he went right to Jersey City's Azucar. This standout sandwich contains Nieman Ranch pork loin, molasses-enriched Virginia ham, Swiss cheese and comes out hot and thin after going into a heavy press.
95 Washington Blvd., Jersey City; 201-222-0090
El Cobre: At Ravi DeRossi's newish rum-soaked Cuban sit-down beside Cienfuegos, not far from Tompkins Square Park, their Cubanitos are like Cuban sandwich sliders. There's the usual roast pork, ham, swiss, and pickles, but these minis also toss in some provolone and garlic mustard.
95 Avenue A, East Village; 212-614-6818