A Sandwich a Day: Paneer Tikka Sandwich at Usha Foods & Sweets

From Serious Eats: New York

In this great city of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that’s what we’ll do. Here’s A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around New York. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.


[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

If you were drawn to Usha Foods and Usha Sweets by the Timesrecent story about Floral Park’s Indian community, but were wondering what to order, here’s one option. Though my visit mostly gave me brittle dosas and some mixed bag steam table fare, it also rewarded me with this curious sandwich. It’s white bread, Wonder-esque, stuffed with chili-spiced paneer cut into fine shreds and layered with green chili and tamarind and mint chutneys. It costs $5 and is more than just an idle curiosity—it’s a great idea, the Indian grilled cheese.

What you see in the photo above isn’t grilled, of course; Usha will griddle it for you, but since the diner also bills itself as a fast food/takeout kind of place, you’re welcome to take the plastic-wrapped sandwich home and give it the press yourself.

I can’t advise enough that you do so: eat it untoasted and you’re battling fluffy white processed starch to get to the spiced cheese within. But once griddled, the sweet bread becomes crisp like pastry, slightly caramelized to better accentuate the warm spiced cheese and tangy chutneys inside. Paneer doesn’t melt, but it does warm through, and this is a multicultural grilled cheese to love.

Usha Foods & Usha Sweets

255-3 Hillside Avenue, Floral Park, NY 11004 (map)

About the author: Max Falkowitz is the editor of Serious Eats: New York. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.