The beauty of the sandwich is that it’s really all things to all people — from mundane peanut butter and jelly in school lunch boxes to innovative creations by serious chefs.
It’s versatile enough to go from picnics in the park to Opera House galas. It’s a brown-bag staple that can be assembled with just about any ingredient on hand. All that’s required are two pieces of bread and some imagination.
Of the hundreds of sandwiches being served in metro Detroit restaurants, we’ve picked 10 that stand out from the crowd.
1. Crab-cake Melt
A luxurious takeoff on the tuna melt is chef/proprietor Jeff Baldwin’s crab-cake melt on toasted foccacia.
J. Baldwin’s Restaurant, 16981 18 Mile Rd. at Garfield, Clinton Township; 586-416-3500.
2. Salmon Club
Chef/proprietor Jerry Widman’s salmon club sandwich served on toasted French bread stars a chargrilled salmon filet with a supporting cast of pancetta, baby greens, Roma tomato, and garlic aioli.
Frittata, 236 S. Main St., Clawson; 248-280-2552.
3. Anita’s Roasted Wrap
Vegetarians flock to this haven where Anita Farah and her daughter and son-in-law, Jennifer and Joe Wegrzyn, carry on the family tradition. They wrap roasted eggplant, tomatoes, red onion, mint, and feta cheese in pita bread, and no one misses the meat.
Anita’s Kitchen, 22651 Woodward, Ferndale; 248-548-0680.
4. The Titanic
The aptly named Titanic — a triple-decker with turkey, pastrami, corned beef, coleslaw, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing — will sink small appetites, but it’s a real favorite at Steve Goldberg’s popular eatery.
Stage Deli, 6873 Orchard Lake Rd., West Bloomfield Township; 248-855-6622.
5. Meatball Sandwiches
Chef Marc Djozlija poaches beef and pork meatballs in spicy tomato sauce, puts them on brioche buns and tops them with three cheeses and a fresh basil leaf.
Wolfgang Puck Grille at the MGM Detroit Grand, 1771 Third St., Detroit; 313-465-1648.
6. Chicken Salad
Chef Patrick Roettele gave classic chicken salad an update when he added dried cherries and blue cheese, put it on toasted English muffin bread, and teamed it with a fresh fruit garnish. The result is a hit with patrons.
Town Tavern, 116 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-544-7300.
7. Cuban Sandwich
The Cuban sandwich was something of a rarity here until Vicente Vazquez opened his downtown restaurant and started serving pork, ham, and sweet cheese on Cuban bread.
Vicente’s Cuban Cuisine, 1250 Library St., Detroit; 313-962-8800.
8. The BBLT
Leave it to Michael Symon to come up with a meaty variation on the BLT. His BBLT goes the extra mile with braised pork belly, bacon, pickled green tomato, and cilantro, all on a toasted baguette.
Roast, at the Westin Book Cadillac, 1128 Washington Blvd., Detroit; 313-961-2500.
9. Breakfast BLT
Dave Rice has the title of sandwich manager, which is a big responsibility at this gourmet oasis. The sandwich list goes on and on, but none is more appealing than the bacon, lettuce, and tomato on toast that gets some added pizzazz from the over-easy egg on top.
Zingerman’s Deli, 422 Detroit St., Ann Arbor; 734-663-3354.
10. Classic Rueben
The classic Reuben — corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing on twice-baked rye — reaches its potential thanks to Lou Weinstein. It’s a combination that’s hard to beat.
Mati’s Deli, 1842 Monroe, Dearborn; 313-277-3253.