The Subject: Zucchini Parm, from Ace Hotel sandwich shop No. 7 Sub.
I mentioned the sandwich-oriented offspring of Brooklyn’s No. 7 restaurant in a Friday Five roundup awhile back, and I’m pleased to report that it only took me an additional four months to stop by. (This is progress, folks.) As I waited on line—short but out the door at peak lunch time—I unhesitatingly settled on the fried clams with pickled strawberries, a combination too bizarre to pass up. And yet…blame the presence of a favorite cheese, or the usage of potato chips as condiment, or even the thought of bright-green fresh summer vegetables, but as I neared the cash register, I found myself inexorably drawn toward the zucchini parm.
Outer Goods: All of No. 7’s sandwiches are served on rolls from justifiably renowned Carroll Gardens bakery Caputo’s. With crusty crust and chewy, pillowy innards, this is the ideal vehicle for the shop’s innovative, imaginative subs.
Inner Beauty: Summer squash—even deep-fried summer squash—is the epitome of peak seasonal produce, especially when served in the midst of a crazy spell of New York heat and humidity. Uber-crunchy breading provided a counterpoint to the fresh zucchini, fried to just this side of tender, with the addition of barbecue potato chips—a childhood guilty-pleasure sandwich treat—kicking up the texture an extra notch. Bathed in sweet-onion mayo and melted fontina cheese, with pickled jalapeños for both tang and spice, this twist on the classic eggplant parmesan is one addictively good sub. Though I fully intended to eat half and save the rest for dinner, the entire thing mysteriously disappeared before I knew it.
Accessories: When the guy on line ahead of me asked about the menu’s Muchim pickles, I heard the cashier describe them as spicy and was instantly sold; it was only after I went home and did some Googling that I discovered that muchim is a technique, not the name of an artisanal pickle-maker. Regardless of its origins, this sour dill was the cool-hot answer to my gooey, cheesy, deep-fried sandwich’s heft.
The Verdict: Though a safe choice, comparatively speaking, to the rest of No. 7 Sub’s options, the zucchini parm more than delivered. I’ll be back to try that fried clam combo, the much-lauded General Tso’s tofu, and the roast pork with cheddar, melon, and Chinese mustard, but even well-trodden deli stalwarts such as brie (served here with roasted onions, plaintain chips, and pickles) and chicken salad (with bacon, marinated tomatoes, and, again, potato chips) sound tempting. Really, a sandwich-tasting party might be the only viable option here.
No. 7 Sub
New York, NY