Most people judge a hotel by some combination of the bed, the bar and the service.
We, however, judge it by its Club Sandwich.
The all-time champ resides at the Waldorf’s Peacock Alley. But given that that hotel is currently under renovation, we decided to seek out seven other Club Sandwiches that’ll scratch your itch — and all for less than the Waldorf’s hefty $22 price tag.
But before we dive in, a quick review. The origins of the club sandwich are most often attributed to the Saratoga Club House (a gentleman's gambling joint) around the turn of the 20th century. Early recipes called for five core ingredients: toasted white bread, lettuce, tomato, bacon and thinly sliced poultry, typically chicken or turkey.
Oh, and a toothpick or two to bind the whole thing together.
Over the years, variations on the sandwich have come to include an additional slice of bread to allow for double-layered ingredients, or — less commonly — a protein substitute for the poultry (roast beef, salmon, Dungeness crab, etc.).
Some of the sandwiches on this list adhere closely to the blueprint, while others take some delicious creative liberties. Which is to say: a club for everyone awaits below.
The saying “Keep it simple, stupid” has never been more apt. Fanelli’s Chicken Club is bar food at its best. And personally, we find the don’t-give-a-damn service as refreshing as this meal’s necessary Stella accompaniment.
Pickler & Co.
Some will say that cheese on a Club is sacrilegious. But people say a lot of things. Pickler’s Turkey Club comes dressed with pepperjack, and their Chicken with cheddar. Both are a match made in sammy heaven. To boot, they only serve “worry-free meat.”
Upper West Side
Sometimes you simply walk into a restaurant and know that their Club is going to be on point. That’s Manhattan Diner. Take a swivel seat at the bar from a bygone era and choose from fresh turkey or grilled chicken.
Freds Madison Avenue
Upper East Side
Traditionalists beware — it’s a Lobster Club on offer here. But if you simply can’t stomach the adventure, there’s a Turkey Club of equal excellence. And we might have fibbed a bit on that under $22 price tag: these suit-n-tie delights will run a fella $26 and up.
We’ve heard many a whisper on the wind that Parm’s Saratoga Club is a sandwich that one must eat before he dies. And we can with all confidence report that the rumours are true. It’s structural perfection: a roast chicken-salad work of art with zesty mayo, bacon with rosemary-hinted brown sugar, and an added crunch courtesy of a layer of potato chips.
Upper East Side
Known for their burgers, J.G. Melon’s Club has long been the menu’s underdog. It’s basic for certain, but everything a Club was meant to be: consistent.
An elevated classic in more ways than one, this Club is skyscraper high, and elegantly updated with avocado and basil mayo smashed between fresh seven grain.