Although the club sandwich can be found on lots of menus around town finding a really great one is a little more of a challenge. Martin Wine Cellar’s Executive Club is good, and Francesca’s better, but to our taste the very best is at Porter & Luke’s.
Stacked so high maneuvers are required to eat it, this beautiful sandwich has only one flaw. It comes with honey mustard dressing in lieu of the traditional mayo, but they are happy to swap it out. That is absolutely the only thing making it less than perfect. Between three slices of toasted whole wheat bread is thinly-sliced ham and turkey but also Swiss cheese. Ample bacon is of good quality, crisp but not overcooked or greasy. And of course lettuce and tomato.
This is not a classic club, which has no cheese and the poultry here is turkey. First mentioned in print in a book called “Conversations With A Chorus Girl” in 1903, the sandwich is traced back to 1894 where it first appeared on the menu in The Clubhouse in Saratoga Springs, New York, an exclusive gambling joint. Its official name is the Clubhouse Sandwich.
James Beard always insisted that a club sandwich have chicken as the poultry. But the sandwich has evolved to be made of turkey more often than chicken, which is likely why “poultry” is mentioned in recipes and accounts rather than chicken or turkey.
We may not be the purist that James Beard was, but we are still club sandwich purists. Yes, there are specialty clubs, with avocado and sometimes here with oysters, but it is the simplicity and its classicism that we love.
The Club Sandwich at Porter & Luke makes an impressive statement. Very generous. Instead of being served with limp, banal frozen fries, as is so often seen, these are crisp and fresh-cut homemade chips.
Just coincidentally, potato chips were invented about forty years before the Clubhouse sandwich. In Saratoga Springs, New York. Maybe this delicious but simple sandwich came about as the perfect accompaniment to such a great idea.
Porter & Luke’s
1517 Metairie Rd Metairie
Friday & Saturday till 10