The best sandwich place in Paris is called Cosi. Actually, the best sandwich place in the world is most likely still Cosi. An awesome little joint that also happens to be right downstairs from where I stay (which is also where I used to live back in student days). They serve outstanding combinations of fresh ingredients stuffed in a kind of pizza bread, made in their own oven right in front of you. If you decide to eat it on the spot, a charming room upstairs will enhance your gustative experience with tasty local arts on display and Italian opera in the background.
Cosi is the only sandwich joint where you would consider bringing a romantic date.
But Paris, and in particular my local dwelling of predilection, the Latin Quarter, is just so filled with sandwich places that you could easily go a whole year eating all your lunches out and never at the same place (without spending astronomical amounts).
Yesterday, I spotted a new sandwich place down the street and can only venture that it is somewhat of a franchise (albeit a rather small one), from that “made in the same marketing mold”-look that seemed to run through the whole decoration (signs, furniture etc).
Nil’s, the Scandinavian Sandwich, offers, you guessed it, “Scandinavian Sandwiches”, Danish to be more precise.
You might be wondering what a Danish sandwich is made of and whether it really deserves its own dedicated eatery. I was. So I went in and asked the ostensibly not-Danish clerk if I could have one. All the sandwiches had nice little labels in front of them, informing you on their nom-de-sandwich (scandinavian-sounding words that made the place look like the culinary equivalent to an Ikea catalog) along with the main exotic ingredients they contained.
As you would expect (or not), fish was heavily represented, but not the only option, far from it, and not the strangest one.
Since they were straight out of baby-seal-mayonaise on rye, I had to settle for their very special: “Smoked Lapon Reindeer with Potatoes on Polar Bread” (see picture above).
it’s not half-bad, although honestly, reindeer won’t be replacing bacon or ham any day soon… but it sure makes for great sandwich descriptions…
PS: Selina, if you are reading this: I’m just kidding of course, the meat-looking ingredient you see above is just a strikingly similar meat substitute that they make in Denmark using only free-range cruelty-free organic polar tofu.
Update: Regarding Cosi, Scott (who was also a big Cosi fan, back when we were neighbours both living upstairs from that place) once told me he had run into a “Cosi” in NYC that looked strikingly similar to the one we both knew in Paris and that seemed to be part of a franchise. Drew (the owner) confirmed that indeed Cosi was now a franchise in the US… though he was not really involved (except I guess, for selling the rights), and if I remember correctly, Scott was not all that impressed by the US version.
Incidentally, here is the address of the one and only French one: 54, rue de Seine (VIe arrondissement), at the corner of rue de Buci… Enjoy!