I was excited to try No. 7 Subs. I’d heard them spoken of fondly by other bloggers I respect, but it was more than that. One person described them as “avant-garde,” and it was with this in mind that I looked forward to sampling their wares. I’ve got a quick way to describe the sandwich I had, and it isn’t “avante-garde.” It’s “lousy.” The above photo quickly gives away the main issue: Where’s the filet? This is a $9 sandwich. I get that it’s Manhattan. I’m no country rube, eyeballs shooting out of my head when confronted with big city prices. I’ll pony up for any sandwich, even almost ridiculous amounts. $9 isn’t going to bankrupt me, but when I part with it I expect something more substantial than an undersized filet hiding in the middle of a bread brick. (I should note that the above picture only depicts half of the sandwich I was given.) That only thing you can really see in the photo is bread and cheese is fitting, because that’s about all the sandwich was. There was cilantro in there, and a roasted tomatillo-chili mayo, but neither made themselves known. All I got was a dense roll and too much American cheese, much to my disappointment.
I should have known what I was in for as soon as I set foot in the door. The menu features a pulled pork sandwich, and that pulled pork sandwich features feta cheese. Cheese on pulled pork has come up here before and…an associate once remarked that “No one who puts cheese on a pulled pork sandwich has ever, or will ever, be loved.” That’s a nice summation of my thoughts on the matter. The associate I was dining with at No. 7 Subs had the asparagus sandwich and was kind enough to let me sample it. Her fortunes were no better than mine, as overcooked asparagus sunk a nice granny smith/cashew dressing. “Avante-garde” is probably a fair way to describe the sandwich shop, but they’re aiming high without securing the basics. They’re trying to paint a masterpiece with a rumpled paper bag and a dried out set of watercolors, and it’s a sad sight. This isn’t falling short via trying something that didn’t work. It’s falling short via not trying, and I can’t get behind that.
No. 7 Subs does brisk business, so it’s possible I simply caught them on a bad day. I would be doing my wonderful readers a disservice, though, if I gave them the benefit of the doubt. If you’re searching out a good sandwich in Manhattan I’m sure you’ll have someone telling you how good No. 7 Subs is. I suppose you might have your reasons for taking their word over mine, but if you’re putting stock in the word of your humble sandwich enthusiast, that word is “avoid.”