Take a bite of the first five hand-held meals.
Editor's note: This is the first of two installments featuring the 10 best sandwiches in Columbus.
Any "best" list comes with swift and decisive refutations from readers who see things differently, to say the least.
Selecting the city's 10 best sandwiches comes after years of research. There were few criteria used in choosing them, other than they couldn't be burgers or sliders. Girth was not given major consideration, although it didn't hurt with a few choices. Beef played a big part in the selections, as you'll see. All were given recent appraisals. Granted, it was hard to pass up so many good selections, but follow-up visits showed that some didn't live up to previous promise.
Even though these might not fit into your top 10, they are superior choices. They are in no particular order.
37 W. Broad St.
Seasoned and brined the Sy Ginsberg way, at the United Meat & Deli plant in Detroit, the restaurant cooks the corned beef on premises. It's heady stuff, very tender, full-flavored and filling, and best on toasted bread. The regular corned beef sandwich ($7.50) should satisfy most appetites, but consider the "jawbreaker" ($10.50) a full pound of meat if you dare.
129 E. Nationwide Blvd.
The catfish po' boy ($10) is proof of the Flatiron's prominence in the very competitive world of sandwiches. A crispy deep-fried filet, garnished with zesty remoulade, lettuce and tomato, is held by crusty French baguette. The cornmeal-dusted fish is clean and mild, and a good portion of the flavor comes from the sauce. The bread, made locally at the Eleni Christina Bakery, offers a very firm bite.
4965 N. High St.
So it's a little unconventional but it still rocks. The shawarma sandwich ($5.99) involves spit-roasted turkey and lamb, plus layers of condiments hummus, tahini, cukes, tomatoes, pickles, jalapeno and such not the least of which are spicy red and tart green salsas. Served in a pita, the ingredients steep at the bottom of the pocket, making the last bites seemingly better than the first. (P.S. - If you can pass up the restaurant's falafel, $1.50 for six pieces, you have superior willpower.)
Dublin Village Tavern
27 S. High St.
At first glance, it might seem hard to justify putting grilled bologna on any "best of" list, but in this case, it's well deserved. First off, it's not the greasy, flaccid pink stuff mom tortured you with in grade school. This one ($9.25) is a sturdy, all-beef slab of deftly seared awesomeness topped with pepper jack cheese, caramelized onions, banana peppers and pickles. A little smidge of mustard and you're good to go.
Banana Bean Cafe
340 Greenlawn Ave.
What's not to like about the Little Havana Cuban sandwich ($10)? There's pork and lots of it. Sharp mustard is the first thing to hit the palate, tickling the nose, followed by gooey swiss and layers of ham and slow-roasted pork, whose moisture seeps into the spongy bread. Simply put, Banana Bean does pork proud.