Winter's official death (we hit the 60s, folks) had me in the mood for something snappy for lunch this week, and I was hoping that Manny's Tortas could be a good place for me to chase those cravings down. If you haven't hit this place (they actually have 2 locations - Mercado Central and Midtown Global Market) yet, you need to give it a shot.
The whole menu sounds awesome, but I just couldn't pass up the Manny's Special - essentially a cheesesteak with a serious attitude. They start by slinging some steak, mushrooms, tomatoes and jalapeños on the griddle and let them do their thing in some oil. Everything gets integrated with a chop from the side of a spatula, as they smear refried beans on a flaky yet soft baguette. Eventually, a few slices of ham join the steak on the grill and the baguette gets big smear of fresh avocado - the real deal, not something shot out of a caulk gun. Eventually the fresh ingredients and griddled items are jammed together before receiving a quick splash of their smoky chipotle mayonnaise.
This sandwich is not for the weak of stomach, my friends - it's a full on epic gut bomb. (I mean that in the best way possible). The tender steak and salty ham are cooked to perfection while the tomatoes and mushrooms take on a whole new identity from their work on the grill. The gooey cheese and freshness of the avocado add a soothing layer that just barely helps to subdue the perfect rush of heat oozing from the chipotle mayo and grilled jalapeños. Add the comfort from the beans to the mix and you have a sandwich with dimension, flavor and substance.
Sandwich Rating: Epic. The sandwich was truly creative and perfectly executed. It could have totally derailed at any moment but everything on it worked together despite the variety of ingredients. I don't think the Manny's Special will be an everyday affair for me, but it has officially reached the rockstar status in my mind.