I’ve been eating a lot of Cuban sandwiches lately. It’s a nice break from banh mis and it also fulfills my daily dietary cheese requirement. (I’m a cheese freak if you didn’t know.) The last two Cubans I ate were at Margon in Midtown and El Presidente in Washington Heights. I’ll be breaking down the two sandwiches here in a new feature called Bite vs. Bite.
The Cuban sandwich at Margon is the more expensive of the two at $5.50. It’s a big sloppy pressed sandwich made with roast pork, Boar’s Head Virginia Ham, Genoa salami, Swiss cheese, pickles, mayonnaise, mustard, and mojo (garlic oil with citrus). While eating this sandwich you will invariably drip mustard all over your shirt, in my case, my white tank top. For big eaters, stuffed with three kinds of meat including salami (which according to Wikipedia is a Tampa thing), Margon’s Cuban sandwich is definitely more filling, as well as more saucy. However, because of all the meat and the cheese, the bread never gets as crunchy as I would like, and the meat ends up steamed and floppy. Margon’s Cuban sandwich is satisfying, but it’s also a hot mess.
On the other end of the spectrum, El Presidente’s Cuban sandwich ($3.95) is an execution in minimalism. Bread, roast pork, ham, and Swiss cheese is drizzled with an intensely garlicky mojo and pressed flat to make a panini-like sandwich. You won’t experience any messy drippings here, just falling shards of crusty bread after each and every noisy chomp. This Cuban’s only shortcoming is that it can be slightly dry; so wash down your sandwich with a Presidente, you’re in the best place for it.
So in the first Bionic Bites: Bite vs. Bite, who reigns supreme? Although I was rooting for Margon on this one, I’ll have to give it to El Presidente for their lean, yet very mean, Cuban sandwich. It wasn’t a complete knockdown, but El Presidente is the clear victor.
3938 Broadway & 165th Street
New York, NY 10032
136 W 46th Street (betw 6th & 7th Ave)
New York, NY 10036