At its essence, a sandwich is two pieces of bread with something in the middle. It's a convenient, made-to-carry meal -- and can also inspire cultlike devotion.
Some memorable sandwiches win us over by breaking the rules. The lobster roll at L.A.'s Hinoki and the Bird arrives in a jet-black bun made from charcoal-enriched flour and flavored with Vietnamese green curry and garlic aioli to punch up the mayonnaise dressing. Others take a reverential approach. At Brooklyn's Mile End, the Ruth Wilensky (salami and brown mustard on a pressed onion roll) pays tribute to the matriarch of a Montreal sandwich institution.
We won't judge; our favorite sandwiches come from all walks of life. They defy cultural boundaries, blur ethnic lines, and run the gamut from traditional to molecular. But they all leave customers satisfied. --Geraldine Campbell