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A young buck in the land of the sandwich

The Brooklyn Paper
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There’s a new sandwich in town.

Jacob Van Horn, a new Brooklynite by way of North Carolina, has opened Van Horn Sandwich Shop on Court Street in Cobble Hill, jumping into a borough whose heartburned history includes giant Italian heroes at John’s in Bensonhurst, sublime panelle specials at Ferdinando’s Focacceria in Carroll Gardens, juicy and crispy Cubans at Pedro’s in DUMBO, and the smoked meat stunners at Mile End in Boerum Hill.

Van Horn knew what he was getting into.

“I know what I’m up against and I know the history,” said the sandwich maestro, who said he has perfected his recipes in the two years since he left an architecture job at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.

“I had to open my shop because I just could not get the fried chicken sandwich that I wanted.”

That sandwich ($12) is a new American classic: A long, deeply Southern fried crescent of juicy breast meat, topped with slaw and lightly brined pickles, and piled onto a roll from Caputo’s bakery down the block.

The menu also includes a North Carolina-style vinegary pulled pork sandwich ($10) and a fried catfish hero ($11).

Sandwiches are the main attraction at Van Horn, but only a fool would pass up the mac and cheese ($6), which is named after an old family friend from back home, but bears no relation to something that came out of a Piggly Wiggly (the wide lasagna noodles and three cheeses are but two clues).

“Our approach is going to be, ‘Simple, simple, simple,’” said Van Horn, who owns the joint with chef Rick Hauchman. “We want people to come to Cobble Hill and say, ‘You gotta eat one of these sandwiches.’ ”

Van Horn [231 Court St. between Warren and Baltic streets in Cobble Hill, (718) 596-9707]. Closed Mondays.

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Reader Feedback

Joey from Clinton Hills says:
those prices seem pretty steep for a freakin' sandwich.
Feb. 10, 2011, 1:59 pm
Dave from Clinton Hill says:
wtf, $12 for a sandwich!? Won't be going there, way too steep.
Feb. 10, 2011, 2:44 pm
Soured from Red Hook says:
Maybe, if its served on two $5 dollar bills instead of bread.
Feb. 10, 2011, 10:27 pm
Danny from Carroll gardens says:
And he has a beard. Is his wife asian? Is he on a kickball team? Why can't this guy go back to n. Carolina? And architecture! Six years of schooling and now he owns a sandwich shop. How is this acceptable? Please, please fail and take that idiot that opened the candlelit barbershop on smith st. with you. 'Person of interest' - what a stupid name.
Feb. 12, 2011, 3:50 pm
Linda Blyer from Cobble Hill says:
We gave it a try about a week ago...because we wanted to support a restaurant that is trying to make it in a location that has many recent failures. The food was delicious, the atmosphere friendly, I hope it succeeds.

Linda Blyer
Cobble Hill
Feb. 13, 2011, 12:32 pm
Frank from Cobble Hill says:
Why all the haters? I suggest you go try the place before you trash it.

I went to Van Horn last week. The food was great and the staff is very friendly. Great place to grab a bite and some drinks. I can't wait until the back patio is opened. Exactely what this neighborhood needed!
Feb. 14, 2011, 12:41 pm
Dave from Clinton Hill says:
I wasn't hating at all, I just said $12 is expensive for a sandwich and for me it is, that's out of my range. I wish them best of luck in their endeavor and welcome to Brooklyn.
Feb. 14, 2011, 4:34 pm
Melosh from Cobb hill says:
If u ate the sandwich and met the staff there, you'd soon realize it's well worth it.

I'd imagine rent on Court street ain't pennies...

In any case, the fish sandwich is amazing!!

For 40 bucks, me and the lady each had a great meal, two beers each in a very non pretentious, friendly environment. Cool music in the background, watching as locals came and went, many of whom knew each other.

Great vibe.

All around cool spot.
March 3, 2011, 2:34 am

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