There’s another stylish panini parlor in Nolita, which has added to the underground gourmet. The café’s focus is, as the name says, bread, and all that can be crammed between two slices and deliciously melted in a sandwich press. Neighboring Balthazar supplies the ciabatta rolls and baguettes—the crusty bookends for a dozen terrific and authentic Italian sandwiches. Sandwich standouts include: Sicilian sardines with tomato and Thai-pepper mayonnaise on a baguette; aged Genoa salami with nutty Taleggio and a swipe of olive tapenade on ciabatta; and rich Italian tuna with lemon dressing on ciabatta that will have you questioning any tuna salad sandwich you have ever eaten. All sandwiches come with a mesclun and cherry tomato salad, which in and of itself is very good and dressed perfectly just like all of the hot downtown trotters who you’ll see cramming into the back and spilling into the front. You’ll likely hear at least five different languages while you wait in the doorway for one of the cool waiters to attempt to look around for an open chair let alone table and then disappear again for another 10 minutes while they try to fight the crowd. At night, candles glow against the silvery interior and the metallic bar and burnished open kitchen contrast the white-washed brick walls hung with local art. The ethereal indie music enhances the intimate mood. It won’t be the service or the food that will rush you out–it will be the other pretty patrons standing by in cramped quarters who are eyeing your meal’s progress.Weekdays are a lot calmer and less hectic, but the weekend rush is what downtown chic is made-of.
20 Spring Street
20 Spring Street