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I think I've found the best sandwich in MSP

I stopped by the St. Paul Cheese Shop for lunch yesterday. Since discovering I a few weeks ago, it's become a regular in my lunch rotation. Decided on the grass-fed short rib and provolone sandwich, dressed simply with what I assume is just some of the reduced braising liquid.

I can't say enough about how fantastic this sandwich was. The short rib was tender yet toothsome, the essence of beef. The cheese was flavorful and pungent, hits you in the nose when you bring it up to your mouth. And while the bread is crusty and chewy, the juices turn the interior into custard-like heaven. After devouring it back at work, I spent the next four hours at my desk, smelling my hands.

Sadly, it will surely disappear from the menu soon, so of you'd like to try it you better get there quick. Hopefully it will be replaced by something that can at least approach its magnificence.

Any other candidates out there for best Sammie in MSP?

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  1. On a day to day basis, I don't think anything can top the Special at Manny's Tortas. I've had the one you describe above and it's fantastic, but like you said, it is for a limited time only. But if anyone can out do the Special on a day to day basis, I'd love to know.

    Manny's Tortas
    920 E Lake St Ste 125, Minneapolis, MN 55407

    1. heh. sounds like an awesome sandwich, and i just picture your co-workers stealing glances over at your desk, and the water filter conversation: "keith keeps smelling his hands!" "look, he's doing it again. . ." "going in for another big sniff. . ." --i'm entertained just thinking about it.

      what a great topic for the local board. i'm assuming we're excluding burgers, please let's-- done to death on other threads and we always get into the jucy lucy molten cheese tarpit.

      anyways i'll open with b'wiched-- and not the lunch pastrami you'd expect me to say-- how about their breakfast sandwich with harissa, pastrami & egg?

      3 Replies
      1. re: soupkitten

        Agreed - no burgers or JL's. We've beaten that horse into something resembling pudding.

        1. re: keithinmpls

          I'm quite fond of the cheesemonger, which is think is available at both cheese shop locations.

          I love the pastrami at Be'Wiched, but would love to try that breakfast sandwich.

          The Manny's Special is excellent.

          I would add the Reuben at V-44, and the Monte Carlo at Monte Carlo.

          Monte Carlo Bar & Cafe
          219 3rd Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401

          1. re: keithinmpls

            i also think the catfish po-boy (fried) at sea salt is almost perfect. the bun is obviously part of the not perfect, but the sandwich itself, with plenty of crystal hot sauce, is one of my favorite summer things.

        2. I third the Manny's Special--love it! A close second would be the fried egg sandwich at the Town Talk. Especially with a side of the beer-battered cheese curds.

          1. Tuna Confit @ Be'Wiched
            Italian Hero @ Be'Wiched
            Those little stick sandwiches @ Surdyk's with the butter, sopresata and arugala
            Roast Pork Banh Mi @ Jasmine Deli

            Red Stag used to have a terrific Club with local turkey, Fischer Farms ham and really good cheddar, but they changed it and now it's just ok.

            ...and I'm sure I'll get flack for this but: Uncle Franky's cheesesteak.

            Jasmine Deli
            2532 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

            Uncle Franky's
            1316 4th St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

            2 Replies
            1. re: Foureyes137

              "...and I'm sure I'll get flack for this but: Uncle Franky's cheesesteak."

              Speaking as a former 13-year Philadelphian, I'll say that Uncle Franky's comes closest in MN to satisfying my cheesesteak craving.

              To me, there's a big distinction between a hot and cold sandwich - I think they need their own categories. For a hot sandwich, I'd definitely put Uncle Franky's cheesesteak in the running.

              Uncle Franky's
              1316 4th St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

              1. re: foreverhungry

                I am only giving this 4 stars because I have only been there once. I love the Philly Cheese Steak sandwich. I am not from Philly, never been there, but enjoyed the sandwich immensely. We ordered it with the hot peppers. It was just the right amount of heat -- not overpoweringly hot, but you knew it was there. Because my partner and I split the sandwich, we also ordered their onion rings, which I also liked a lot. Uncle F must have put some other seasoning in the batter for the onions because the batter was less bland than the usual onion rings. My partner swears by the Nor'easter sandwich which contains turkey and other stuff. I especially appreciated the bread. It was interesting, tasted like something and was nice and warm. I intend to work my way through the menu.

                Uncle Franky's
                728 Broadway St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

            2. Ditto on the pastrami at Be'wiched.

              Chicago beef at Uncle Franky's or the Italian Beef at Brianno's in Eagan. Also the Brianno's Special (Italian cold cut sandwich) or their meatball sub.

              The bacon, egg, and cheddar breakfast biscuit at Colossal Cafe.

              Cubano torta at Olmeca in Burnsville.

              I've enjoyed a couple different sandwiches at the St. Paul Cheese Shop but can't remember exactly what was on them at the moment. I might have to get over there in the next couple days and grab the one keith recommended (and wash it down with some Izzy's).

              Maverick's roast beef.

              5 Replies
              1. re: MSPD

                On your recommendation, I went to Olmeca on Friday. Got the cubano torta and now really wish I hadn't...mainly because I have to drive 45 minutes to get another. :) Simple ingredients put together to make a really good sandwich. The bread is outstanding. I'll take it over Manny's special torta every day.

                1. re: BigE

                  I was also there Friday for the torta (I have had it before) and it was even better this time around. I'm glad my drive is only 10 minutes ;-)

                  1. re: BigE

                    I'm glad you liked it! I would have been morified if anyone drove that far on my recommendation for something that sucks.

                    1. re: MSPD

                      I was in the area, which I never am, so I had to make the stop. Well worth it.

                      1. re: BigE

                        I work off the Parkway and 35W and made the run over to Olmeca today. I agree that it is a really good sandwich. I had the Milanese (fried steak). I feel bad for the people who settle for the Jimmy Johns/Subway trap when this is here in Burnsville.

                        Personally, I prefer the Manny Special. One, Manny's doesn't fry/bread their meat which I prefer. And I like the chipotle mayo that comes on the Special. But that is my opinion and you really aren't going wrong with either of them. It's like arguing juicy lucy burgers really.

                        Great call MSPD. Rack Shack for BBQ. Olmeca for sandwiches. Now, it's time to find a Chinese Buffet in this area! Most of the ones I've tried are god-awful.

                2. My current favorite sandwich is the roast pork sandwich at Chimborazo. It has incredibly flavorful pork, fried plantains, and a gorgeous spicy green sauce (aji criollo). The combination of flavors is amazing - porky, spicy, and slightly sweet from the plantains.

                  Oh, now I want one for dinner, but they're for lunch only (served between 11-4).

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: AnneInMpls

                    That is making my mouth water! Yum! I have never been to Chimborazo. Do you have any other favorites there or anything to not get?

                    1. re: daniellempls

                      Danielle, I think you're fine no matter what you order.

                      I love EVERYTHING I've ever eaten at Chimborazo. The Lomo Saltado (pork and veggie stir fry, Ecuadorian style) is so fabulous I have to physically restrain myself from ordering it every time I go. The peanut soup with the softball-sized dumpling is the stuff that comfort-food dreams are made of. And the daily special is usually even better than the regular menu items - last time I was there, it was lamb chunks braised in beer and passion-fruit juice, served with rice, beans, and fried plantains. Man, oh, man! We did our best to convince the owner-chef to make this a regular menu item.

                      So just go! I'll bet that you'll love whatever you order.


                      1. re: AnneInMpls

                        FYI, if you go for lunch, the peanut soup and pork sandwich can be had for $7.50.

                  2. The kofta meatball sandwich with harissa from the World Street Kitchen truck is my new favorite sandwich. One of those things where you don't want to finish it because then it's gone forever. Amazing.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ike.

                      On that note, the mini lamb BLTs at Saffron are exquisite. Should also give a shout out to the Philly Cheesesteak at Papa's.

                      1. re: ike.

                        I miss WSK already. Their Curry Banh Mi was awesome.

                      2. I love the torta's at Pineda Tacos (the one at 4th and Lake). I love getting one with their green chicken with potatoes. Spicy, big and tasty.

                        Pineda Tacos
                        2150 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN

                        1. Keithinmpls - You're right - the shortrib sandwich at St. Paul cheese was beyond great. Thanks for the tip!

                          1. I finally got down to the oft-discussed Cecil's Deli in St. Paul.

                            I have to say, I was pretty impressed. I got the 'Just like New York', which is hot pastrami and cole slaw on an onion roll. The bread was warm and soft, with a little chew and a nice salty/oniony flavor. The pastrami was very good as well. I'd never heard of new yorkers eating slaw on their pastrami sandwiches, but it worked well for me.

                            Overall, I REALLY enjoyed this sandwich. My standard bearer for pastrami is Carnegie Deli and though it didn't reach that height, I'm glad to now I can get some semblance of it without having to go to NYC.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: BigE

                              thanks BigE, yes, the creamy coleslaw is a nice coolant for the salty meats. Nice texture combo too, plus a little fiber can't hoit...

                              1. re: BigE

                                I tried this place about a month ago, for the first time and I loved it.!! I like to get the East Coast, It has Corned Beef and Cole slaw on top. I always order it grilled. I liked the blintzes and the Matzo ball soup had good flavor. The Matzo balls weren't as good as my moms but, it still tasted like the soup was homemade...

                                1. re: BigE

                                  Cecil's is one of those places that folks are very split about. Some folks love it. Some (like me) don't like it. I used to go there fairly often when I lived and worked in the neighborhood. Until I realized that I was going there only because people told me they liked it. But I didn't. For me, their sandwiches are OK, but that's it. Personally, I think their food is on the bland side, and portions are a bit skimpy.

                                2. Just walked by the St Paul cheese this morning and saw on their board outside that they have the short rib sandwich today. Might need to circle back later.

                                  1. Be'wiched. Today. Smoked Brisket w/ horseradish and blue cheese. New title holder of "best".

                                    6 Replies
                                      1. re: Foureyes137

                                        Yum! Is that on the regular menu? I was at Be'wiched the other day, but didn't notice this in my rush to order a pastrami sandwich...

                                        1. re: AnneInMpls

                                          really, don't the combined intense but different flavors fight with each other? smoke, horseradish AND blue cheese?

                                          1. re: AnneInMpls

                                            It was the special today, but it sounds like it may become a weekly regular.

                                            Flavors don't fight...all bold, all balanced.

                                            1. re: Foureyes137

                                              OK 4Eyes, but to me,it sounds like...an UMAMITSUNAMI!!

                                        2. I was fortunate enough to stop by when they had this sandwich instock. It was definitely a memorable one. Flavorful meat, very moist well seasoned. The cheese was perfectly balanced for the sandwich and matched it perfectly. The bread was also fresh, which was a nice touch. All told, a fantastic sandwich that I would recommend to anyone. I think it was around $10 but it had me thinking about it all day after I ate it.

                                          1. Ill have to try that... for me, its the Longhorn at Blackbird. Something about it rubs me just the right way.
                                            THE LONGHORN
                                            braised beef brisket, caramelized onions, tomatoes, provolone, horseradish mayo

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: ashii

                                              I was at the Blackbird a week or two ago and had their banh mi sandwich. I also had it last winter/spring at the site that later burned down. I liked the sandwich so much then that I couldn't wait to have it again. I was so glad to learn that they found another spot and reopened. BTW, their hot tea selection is very nice; the tea bag has a beautiful pyramidic shape with a jaunty faux leaf and is served in a beautiful teacup. Even if you are not hungry, go at a time they are somewhat quiet, sit in a booth and enjoy the taste and the asthetics of drinking the tea.

                                              1. re: ashii

                                                Thanks for the tip - that sounds very good but omg the prices there... $11 for a sandwich and fries, it better be great!

                                                1. re: isfahani

                                                  Seriously? But that's really only a dollar or two more than sports bar chains charge for slop.

                                              2. I tried Cecils in St Paul (a Jewish Deli) for the first time on Sunday and the sandwich was delicious. I had the East Cost and it has corned beef (warmed) and cold, homemade coleslaw and it was just super yummy on the homemade, grilled caraway bread.

                                                2 Replies
                                                  1. re: sweetkim

                                                    Had a pretty dang good mushroom and cheese with carmelized onions today at Cheeky Monkey (with a side of grits!)...not sure if it's the BEST, but I liked it...

                                                1. The Cuban at Caribe. Served with a side of mango cole slaw and fried plantains. Yum!

                                                  1. I just had the Asian burger at Muffuletta this past weekend and it BLEW my mind! Although come to think of it, almost any sandwich I've had there has been wonderful. I know it's not a 'sandwich sandwich' but it was just so damn good that I had to mention it.