Serious Eats: Chicago
A Sandwich a Day: Serrano Ham Bocadillo at Barcito
I ate a lot of tasty little things when I visited Barcito, Ryan Poli's San Sebastian-style pinxto bar next to Tavernita in River North. From the Wagyu beef and pork meatballs covered in hazelnut romesco sauce to the tiny two-bite pintxos themselves, all the dishes arrived stripped to their essential parts and designed for maximum impact. Still, nothing quite prepared me for the spare simplicity of the serrano ham bocadillo ($4). The sandwich is nothing more than toasted bread rubbed with tomato and topped with thinly sliced serrano and manchego cheese. That's it.
But what a sandwich it is. At the time, I wondered if there was "a better ham and cheese sandwich around," and I still haven't found one. Thanks to the tomato, the crackly bread has just the right amount of tartness to stand up to the fatty meat and salty cheese. There's nothing you could add to this to improve the whole. In fact, the only issue is that it is on the small side. Of course, at $4 you can always order a second.