Dish No. 29: The Tofu Sandwich at François Payard Bakery


Welcome to 100 Dishes to Eat Now, Fork in the Road's handy list of some of our favorite dishes -- old standbys and new finds alike -- compiled daily.

Today's pick: the Vegetarian Tofu, Tomato, and Basil Sandwich ($7.50) at François Payard Bakery (116 West Houston Street, 212-995-0888).

Although François Payard's renown rests largely upon his pastry prowess, his brand-new bakery on West Houston Street has a substantial sandwich menu. One of the stand-outs is the vegetarian tofu with tomatoes and basil, served on a thick multi-grain ciabatta. Instead of adhering to vegetarian sandwich tradition and serving the bean curd as an impassive slab, Payard transforms it into a rather ingenious spread that's so tangy and rich it's easy to mistake it for something much less wholesome than tofu. The spread is accompanied by plenty of diced, ripe tomatos and peppery arugula leaves, and while the basil is relatively scant, a scattering of diced black olives give the flavors additional savory dimension. The sandwich's bread is nutty, chewy, and altogether wonderful; it's a foundation that acts as a reminder of the baked goods that Payard built his reputation upon.

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