When I worked in the financial district, I was a vegetarian. Maybe working around all those cut-throat lawyers led me to a gentler diet? While good vegetarian options do exist, even in that neighborhood, it can be hard to find meals that really shine. At Financier Patisserie (62 Stone Street, NYC), an excellent patisserie and coffee shop, I noticed a panini on the menu called “Le Vegetarian” and immediately thought “ho hum, another tomato mozzarella basil”. Not that I have anything against that sandwich (when done right, it’s fantastic), but I was tired of being offered it at every sandwich shop, as if vegetarians subsisted on nothing else. Not to mention the sadness of a sandwich made with bland, pale winter tomatoes, compared to the pure awesomeness of a midsummer heirloom tomato sandwich…
Anyway, back to Financier. I noticed the word “fried” in the sandwich’s description. “Fried green tomatoes”, specifically. Yes please – I may have been vegetarian, but I was by no means a health nut. I no longer work down there (thankfully) and I am enthusiastically back on the meat wagon, but whenever I’m in the neighborhood I make sure to pick up “Le Vegetarian” ($7.25). This sandwich is awesome: fried green tomatoes lie between layers of mozzarella cheese, basil pesto and fresh arugula. Pressed into a panini, it’s gooey, fried, cheesy, basil-y goodness – but it never oversteps the boundaries of the chewy bread. The pesto is slathered on both slices of bread, and soaks nicely into it without soaking through. In fact, it’s noticeably easy to eat neatly (no CounterForce or Patrolling needed!). This sandwich is sophisticated, and like a well-dressed Frenchman snubbing his nose at slovenly American tourists, it stands tall above the usual tomato blandness.
While you’re at Financier, you should probably pick up some pastries and/or cookies. You won’t regret it.
The tomato-frying pushes it to a high level of strategy, and good cheese, bread and pesto earn it high execution marks as well.
A classy package for a classy sandwich:
A crisp fried tomato peeks out:
Stratas of tastiness: