October 28, 2011
The cemita is the Rolls Royce of Mexican sandwiches; no extravagance is spared. From bottom to top: black beans, mayo, meat, lettuce, tomato, pickled onion, stringy Mexican white cheese, avocado, papalo – a pungent Mexican herb whose strength puts cilantro to shame – and a spread of stewed chipotle pepper, all enclosed in a soft, eggy, seeded bun. Most American sandwiches want to be it. And if you’re going to sell them, you may as well just call your business “Cemita.” No other name will do it justice. That’s exactly what Cemita’s owner Danny Lyu did for his Mexican sandwich stand at Smorgasburg, the food-only extension of Brooklyn Flea based at the Williamsburg waterfront on weekends. A plate-sized panko crusted chicken cutlet ($9, top) juts out from both ends of the towering sandwich before its all wrapped in wax paper, a necessary evil if you want to maintain any semblance of order and front-of-shirt cleanliness during eating. It’s worth arriving early for the breakfast special cemita ($5.50, above), served from 10am-11:30am; eggs, beans, cheese, chorizo, pico de gallo, and tater tots – both inside your sandwich and scattered around the tray – will make you a morning person. If there’s a Mexican deli near your house, odds are they sell cemitas too, but if you want your first experience to be the best, head over to Smorgasburg. It will be on the waterfront for just three more weekends before moving to a heated tent at One Hanson Place in Fort Greene on Nov. 19.