NEW YORK: EAT SEE PLAY SHOP SLEEP TIPS OUT OF TOWN

BROOKLYN

Court Street Grocers

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During the final weeks of my pregnancy, after months of consciously avoiding so many of the foods you’re advised against eating while pregnant, I read an article about the perfect Italian combo sandwich in a food magazine and could suddenly think of little else. Made by a small gourmet market a few neighborhoods away from our new home in Brooklyn, the photo of this sandwich was a bit like a siren call, beckoning me to Court Street Grocers in Carroll Gardens. In the nearly two years since our first visit, their Italian Combo has become our default when we’re craving sandwiches.

The tiny store is nearly always crowded, but here is your game plan: pass the refrigerator case, the selection of prepared goods, and all of the gourmet groceries as you make your way to the kitchen in the back, where a sandwich menu hangs above the counter. Look over the offerings, and debate trying something other than the Italian Combo, just this once. Decide nothing could ever be as perfect as the Italian Combo and order it again, creature of habit that you are. Circle around to the other side of the store, where tables crowd the small room. Jockey for space at one and wait [im]patiently for your sandwich perfection to arrive. It will be worth it.

On our last visit, late on a weekend afternoon, the day had proved so busy and the sandwiches so popular that they had run out of most breads, including the club roll made a few blocks away at a neighborhood bakery and used as a vehicle to deliver the Italian Combo. Our hands forced, we nervously chose sandwiches new to us. We shouldn’t have worried, however – The Delight, a twist on a Reuben with house-corned short ribs, and the Tuna Salad, with oil-packed tuna, pickled red onions and green goddess dressing, were delicious, further confirming that Court Street Grocers is something special indeed.

Insider tip: Live in New York or have a kitchen where you’re staying? Pick up a package or two of the Sun Noodles ramen in the refrigerator case before leaving. With its factory just across the Hudson River in Teterboro, New Jersey, Sun Noodle makes custom noodles for all of the best ramen spots in New York and Los Angeles. Instant ramen like you’ve never had it before, this is a staple in our freezer for quick dinners in a pinch on nights we’re feeling too tired to take on anything more ambitious than boiling water.


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