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Best in Food 2012: Five Lunch Sandwiches to Love

If the past few years have been a boon for burger fans, 2012 was a banner year for lovers of a good old sandwich. Here are our favorite newcomers.

Pastrami on Rye at Artifact Coffee

If there’s one thing Spike Gjerde never does, it’s cut corners. The Woodberry Kitchen chef/owner doesn’t take it any easier at his Hampden coffeehouse, where the pastrami in a deli-style sandwich takes more than a week to corn, cure, and smoke, with a stop in the sous-vide machine. It’s finished with pickled cabbage and cheese and served on springy rye. Not surprisingly, Gjerde’s team makes that every morning, too. 1500 Union Ave., Baltimore; 410-235-1881.

Cheesesteak at Nice ’n’ Greasy, Steak ’n’ Cheesy

Most cheesesteaks are about the sum of their parts, not the shredded meat, Cheez Wiz, or grease-streaked roll on their own. But at the cheesesteak spot Michael Landrum installed in his old Ray’s Hell-Burger Too space, it’s hard not to revel in the quality of each element, from the tender and juicy rib eye to the mix of mellow American cheese and sharp provolone to the spicy mayo called “groove grease.” 1725 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; no phone.

Fried-Oyster Po’ Boy at New Orleans Po Boy Shop

With Saints jerseys tacked to the walls, bottles of Crystal hot sauce on the tables, and a New Orleanian running the kitchen, this sliver of a shop is striving for authenticity. Of all its sandwiches, this one does the Big Easy proudest, with airy French bread shipped in from a Metairie bakery and oysters—shucked, dredged in cornmeal, and fried to order—from the Gulf. 1205 19th St., NW; 202-621-8118.

Lobster Roll at Luke’s Lobster

Mainers like their lobster rolls bound with mayo, while Connecticut folks prefer their claw and tail meat bathed in warm butter. Luke’s—a spinoff of the popular New York original—shows that nobody has to take sides: It loads up a traditional top-split hot-dog bun with cool lobster salad, then finishes it with a drizzle of melted butter. An excellent compromise. 624 E St., NW, 202-347-3355; 1211 Potomac St., NW, 202-333-4863; 7129 Bethesda La., Bethesda, 301-718-1005.

Turkey Club at Stachowski’s

Turkey with sprouts and avocado—it doesn’t sound like the most thrilling choice on the board. But leave it to butcher and charcuterie king Jamie Stachowski to turn out a teetering, toothpick-secured double-decker that’s one of the most satisfying sandwiches we’ve ever had. What helps: fluffy slices of Pullman bread, copious crisp bacon, a good slathering of mayo, and lots of freshly smoked turkey. 1425 28th St., NW; 202-506-3125.

Photographs by Scott Suchman.

Read more from our Best in Food 2012 package.

This article appears in the December 2012 issue of The Washingtonian.

  • edi

    What about vegetarian/vegan sandwiches? Would be nice to highlight at least one option in this sort of lineup.

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