Comfort is a buzz word right now. All over social media, brands are telling us what we need to survive right now: Exploding burgers or pizza pot pie or movies that don’t suck. But when the winter comes, if it does, one thing you need to do for yourself is to curl up with a warm sandwich. The comforting sandwiches of Dallas are the food equivalent to fresh socks after trekking through a snowy field, or that bear skin Leonardo DiCaprio wears in The Revenant. These sandwiches will ensconce you with runny egg or magma cheese or fill your belly with salty, cured meats.
The Duck Sandwich at Blind Butcher
1919 Greenville Ave.
The duck sandwich is a magic spell: Once you know the ingredients, you will see, hear and speak nothing else until you’ve eaten it. Thin duck pastrami, duck bacon, rounds of pickled shallot and a beer-infused goat cheese spread are arranged between a soft, Kosher salt-flecked pretzel bread. One bite in, you’ll see stars like you’ve been punched in an old-timey cartoon. There's salt and a bold, familiar duck flavor with pricks of pickle from the shallots and mustard.
Fried Housemade Bologna at Remedy
2010 Greenville Ave.
This is the Rembrandt of bologna sandwiches. Curtains of thinly-sliced bologna — a blend of Duroc pork and Akaushi beef — melted American cheese, good old-fashioned mayo and sweet onion sit between flat-topped Challah bread. It’s a sandwich that will stimulate the lobe of your brain that controls memory. Suddenly, you’ll be in your mom’s kitchen with a paper plate that’s heavy with your bologna sandwich and chips. And lots of mayo.
Cubano at C Senor
30 W Davis St.
You know that feeling when you step out of the shower and wrap up in a towel that's fresh from the dryer? That’s what this sandwich is like. Now imagine that you’ve stepped out of the shower and onto a beach in Miami wrapped in that same warm towel. That's closer to this sandwich's flavor profile. Mojo-marinated pork, tender and seasoned and peppery, hangs out with ham, melted Swiss, pickles and sharp mustard. Devour it on the concrete tables outside on a sunny day for best use.
BLT (with egg) at Maple & Motor
4810 Maple Ave.
Long slices of bacon, griddled until crispy and thick, mingle with slices of tomato and mayo for one of Dallas’ best BLTs. BLTs are a nine on the comfort scale. The best part: This isn't one of those sandwiches that falls apart instantly. The bread, slightly toasted and buttery, holds every shard of bacon. For a good time, add a sunny side-up egg, slice it down the center and watch that beautiful sunrise yolk set into your bacon.
The Toddfather at Cattleack Barbecue
13628 Gamma Road
If you’re listing the best barbecue in Dallas, it's essential to include Cattleack’s sausage and brisket — both of which are piled on the Toddfather sandwich. These perfectly smoked meats are tacked on a fresh, warmed bun along with pulled pork that will ruin you for all other pulled pork. It’s a hilariously good barbecue sandwich that’s worth any line you encounter — and you will encounter a line, as Cattleack is only open Thursdays, Fridays and one Saturday a month. Add some coleslaw to slice through the richness and dive in.
Pistachio Fried Chicken at the Old Monk
2847 N. Henderson Ave.
At the Old Monk, chicken is soaked in buttermilk before it's coated with pulverized pistachios and fried into pieces of fantastically golden chicken. The crunch of the pistachio batter, a deep and satisfying shatter, is nothing short of brilliant. A blanket of melted Swiss cheese adds a pungent sharpness.
Meatball Sub at Jimmy’s Food Store
4901 Bryan St.
The meatball sub at Jimmy’s is best with everything — which in this case means white onions and sautéed peppers. The cheese will stretch as you pull apart the halves of the sandwich, and the meatballs are saucy and tender. It’s the DiCarlo family recipe, which means it’s made by an Italian mom — and what could be more comforting than that? At less than eight bucks, this is one of the best sandwich deals in Dallas.
Csavargó at Armoury D.E.
2714 Elm St.
This sandwich is all heat and spice. Pork belly, tender and fatty, hangs out with a Hungarian sausage that tastes of garlic and paprika. Shredded greens and tomatoes cool the light fire of house-made pickled jalapenos and grainy mustard adds texture. This sandwich will light up your senses like the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.
The Grilled Cheese at AllGood Cafe
2934 Main St.
A bright star on any list of comforting foods is a perfectly executed grilled cheese. Lava flows of cheddar and pepper jack meet roasted green chiles and tomatoes on grilled sourdough to make for one of the best yet simplest sandwiches in Dallas. A slather of Chipotle mayo sends it into the stratosphere.
JT’s Grilled Cheese at Knife
5300 E Mockingbird Lane
Knife excels at elegant and simple sandwiches. The pimento cheese burger is an eye-opener. JT’s grilled cheese is also smart and simple, a mix of trumpet-bright sharp yellow cheddar, white cheddar and creamy goat cheese. It’s picturesque and melty and good. If you’re doing things right, you’ll order the roasted tomato soup, which is topped with Vermont cheddar and an avocado, and stirs all the joys of winter.
The Reuben at Kuby's
6601 Snider Plaza
Kuby's doesn't care about what's trendy. Their house-made corned beef recipe is centuries in the making. A Reuben at Kuby's has always held my attention: Straightforward ribbons of grill-kissed corned beef, a stern slice of Swiss and sauerkraut — sautéed with bacon, onion and white wine — has the flavor profile of a chilly Macy’s Day parade. The tender potato salad on the side, with hints of bacon, is stupendous.
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Patty Melt at Jonathon’s
1111 N. Beckley Ave.
Few sandwiches achieve the wonderful, belly-warming comfort that comes with a patty melt. Swapping buns for buttery, toasted rye or wheat is a good start. Jonathon's owner/chef Jonathon Erdeljac sharpens this sandwich with a few sledgehammer-strong ingredients: sautéed mushrooms, onions caramelized in brown sugar, salt, a “chill spice” and an aioli rich with garlic confit. It’s a sandwich as big and sleep-inducing as the moon. Bring an air mattress and a starched nightcap to the restaurant.
Turkey at Goodfriend Package
1155 Peavy Road
Maybe it’s the house-smoked slices of turkey (no wet deli meats here), or perhaps the Sriracha-spiked white cheddar, but this turkey sandwich will take a big swing at the part of your brain that manages portion control. A good fresh-cut turkey sandwich is the epitome of comfort food. Who can resist the intoxication of a toasted roll with a generous swipe of mayo and day-after Thanksgiving turkey? The soft ciabatta bun frames this sandwich, and it feels like something beautiful and simple you made for yourself at home.
Chicken Parm at Carbone’s
4208 Oak Lawn Ave.
The most underrated sandwich in Dallas is the Chicken Parmesan at Julian Barsotti’s Carbone’s. This is New York’s Little-Italy-level Italian that pummels New York’s Little Italy. The chicken is brined before getting a deep fry bath. It's topped with house-made mozzarella and marinara and a blend of sautéed onions and Shishito peppers. Eat your heart out, Mario Batali.