Past the neon lights of the supersized chain restaurants in Times Square lies Margon, a place not for tourists where a perfectly layered pressed Cuban sandwich has attracted all walks of the working life for the past 25 years. CHOW.com Contributing Editor Liza de Guia filed this report.
Wedged in the middle of 46th Street shines Margon, a let’s-all-squeeze-in kinda of family-run Cuban spot that happens to make one of the best cubanos in the city.
A Cubano is like a glorified ham sandwich. Every week, their chef preps over 150 pounds of pork shoulder for sandwiches - rubbing them down in sea salt, black pepper, lemon juice, and what they call “Cuban love” to develop rich flavors overnight. The next morning, the pork sits in the oven for six hours to slow roast.
Once the pork is ready, making the Cubano is a simple layering process. First, onto fresh baked Cuban bread, goes slices of deli ham and Swiss cheese, followed by a layer of tender roasted pork. Next, their family’s “twist” - genoa salami - for extra flavor and chew. This goes face down onto their panini press, allowing the meat to heat up, the cheese to bubble, and the contents to kind-of all meld together beautifully. After 5-8 minutes, they come off the press, get dressed with a pile of crisp sliced pickles for added brine and crunch, then mustard, mayo, their house made “mojito” sauce - a super garlic-y citrus sauce - and, finally, hot sauce.
When you bite in, you just get it: The mild cheese and hot moist pork meats, the cold briny pickles, condiments and garlic sauce - it’s one flavor and texture compliment after another. And for less than $7, it's certainly not one to miss.
Margon Restaurant is located at 136 West 46th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in Manhattan.
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