I knew I’d be writing this week’s column about the roast beef sandwich at Artisan Food Valley in Bay Ridge from the moment I saw it.
The check, not the sandwich.
That’s because at $10.50, the only way I could afford this sandwich is if someone else — namely this newspaper — is paying for it.
But my first bite of the hefty sandwich convinced me that I’d be writing about it on the merits: as I dug into the fresh-cut roast beef, the marinated roasted red peppers and the huge pillowy slices of fresh mozzarella and homemade balsamic vinegar reduction, I knew I was dealing with a sandwich that would make Cliff Huxtable proud.
This sandwich is almost too large to fit in your mouth and requires care and attention to keep its constituent parts from spilling out of its fresh, not-too-crunchy baguette and onto your pants.
It’s the kind of sandwich you justify by saying you’ll eat half for dinner and save the rest for lunch the next day — but then you end up finishing it on the R train three stops from your apartment (as I did.)
It is a sandwich fit for kings (the county, too).
How does one build a sandwich of this caliber?
From scratch, of course.
“Our roast beef is homemade, the mozzarella is home-pulled every morning,” said owner Danny Accardo of the deli, formerly Piazza Mercato. “We only roast four red peppers at a time every four hours.”
Suddenly $10.50 isn’t so outrageous.
The crown jewel of the sandwich is the mozzarella, which is soft and delicious, and perfectly balances the flavorful roast beef mixed with the garlicky red peppers. And the bread — delivered fresh daily from Royal Crown Bakery in Bensonhurst — is the perfect vessel for this Brobdingnagian blowout.
If you have the scratch, you need to try this sandwich. Just make sure you have napkins — and a short subway ride.
Artisan Food Valley [9204 Third Ave. between 93rd and 94th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 513-0071].