JoeDough is an East Village sandwich shop offshoot of the JoeDoe restaurant a few blocks away. Joe and Jill, the owner-operators of JoeDough, describe their cuisine as “Aggressive American,” combining Jewish, Italian, Asian and Irish influences. I describe it as delicious and interesting. While I have yet to have the pleasure of dining at the restaurant, if the sandwich shop is any indication of what to expect, I’m eager to book into JoeDoe. If you’re a local looking for lunch or a tourist looking for some amazing NYC food, stop in at JoeDough.
At JoeDough, you can expect to find sandwiches that pay homage to classics you may remember from your youth, but update and tweak the ingredients to make them more interesting for a more sophisticated adult palate. Here are a few of my personal favorites…
Joe’s Cuban is toasted to a lovely flat, firm crispness. American-made prosciutto adds a welcome smokiness. Whole grain mustard adds extra depth of flavor. I’m a huge fan of Cuban sandwiches, and this one is an instant favorite.
The Almighty Brisket
As cliché as it may sound, the brisket literally melts in your mouth. Spicy mayo adds just enough kick to let you know it’s there but doesn’t overpower the other flavors. This is easily the best beef sandwich I’ve ever eaten.
Brunch Special (pictured)
Early one Saturday, I stopped in and had the finest egg sandwich I’ve ever tasted. This special was two duck eggs, shoulder bacon and queso blanco with sambal (a chile sauce popular in southeast Asia) on a brioche bun. This was a fresh and flavorful twist on the classic bacon, egg and cheese roll. The unique and unusual flavors of these variant ingredients make for an experience that is new and interesting, yet familiar at the same time.
Celery soda was an old favorite in Jewish delis from around the turn of the 2oth century. At some point between then and now, it lost it’s mass appeal. I don’t know why that happened, but I don’t think it would have if Jill was in charge of making it. JoeDough’s celery soda is light and refreshing. It’s a perfect drink to refresh and cleanse the palate when enjoying one of the delicious sandwiches on offer.
Don’t Believe The Hype
JoeDough has received a few bad reviews on Yelp. Those that complain about the food either don’t get it, or giving them the benefit of the doubt, perhaps just had some bad luck and timing when someone made a mistake in the kitchen. I remain skeptical though; the shop has been immaculate and the staff very attentive whenever I’ve been in. I have been to JoeDough often and never failed to have an amazing sandwich. The flavors are often unusual. The Cuban, for example, is an interpretation on the general theme of a Cuban sandwich. A traditionalist might take offense, but if you have an open mind, you’re in for some interesting flavors.
I’ve also seen complaints about the prices. Yes, ten dollars is more than I’d typically expect to pay for a sandwich. Of course, I also wouldn’t get the exotic ingredients in perfectly complimentary combinations executed with an expert hand. If you want to pay five bucks for a sandwich, go to subway and choke down that bland roll prepared according to a pictograph from mass-produced ingredients by someone with limited employability.
Some reviews accuse the owners and staff of being rude, crude or unhelpful. I simply cannot believe this. I have never had the staff treat me with anything but courtesy and good cheer. I don’t know if I’ve ever met Joe, but I have met Jill, and she’s as cheerful and service-oriented as can be, and from what I’ve seen, the staff follows her lead. Keep up the good work!
You can find JoeDough at 135 First Avenue between St. Mark’s and 9th Street. A catering menu is available if you want truly amazing sandwiches for the guests at your gathering.