Bite vs. Bite, Midtown, Restaurants, Washington Heights

Bite vs. Bite / Cuban Sandwich – NYC

July 8, 2009 | 4 Comments

Margon vs. El Presidente

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.


cuban @ margon

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.

El Presidente

cuban @ el presidente

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.

El Presidente
3938 Broadway & 165th Street
New York, NY 10032

136 W 46th Street (betw 6th & 7th Ave)
New York, NY 10036

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  • Nicholas at 12:48 am on July 10, 2009

    The question is… is the one from Margon 38% bigger? Purely by a value standpoint, you’d have to think you could get 3 ‘El Presidente’ cubans for every 2 ‘Margons’ you could buy.

  • bionicgrrrl at 11:20 am on July 11, 2009

    @Nicholas – Margon’s Cuban is bigger, but taste-wise I prefer El Presidente’s Cuban. Even if both were the same price, I would choose El Presidente’s Cuban. Sorry Margon.

  • Wonders at 12:06 pm on July 14, 2009

    No pickle? I’d be highly upset eating a cuban sandwich and find out there’s no pickle in it..

  • bionicgrrrl at 3:57 pm on July 14, 2009

    @Wonders – No pickle, but in exchange the Cuban gets really crunchy. I believe you can get a pickle on the side though.

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