[Photograph: Joe Roy]

Like I was saying last time, housing a sandwich in a pretzel roll or bun does not make for an automatically great sandwich. Too often, the bread itself is cold, the flavor is lacking, and its heft is all out of proportion to the fillings within. However, every once in a while, a sandwich comes along that reminds me why people go crazy about pretzel bread in the first place.

NYC Bagel Deli offers a variety of bagel flavors to go with their Boar's Head meat and cheese selections, but when I saw that pretzel salt was an option, I knew my search was over. The Roasted Turkey Breast & Cheddar on a Pretzel Salt Bagel ($8.95) is exactly what it sounds like, with green leafy lettuce, thinly sliced tomato, and red onion rings to round out the sandwich. The fillings worked well together: the high-piled turkey was mild and moist, the cheddar was sharp and creamy, and the vegetables added just the right amount of freshness.

The star, though, was the pretzel salt bagel, which highlighted the best features of its namesakes. The salt was plentiful, and while the bagel was soft, it was also chewy and dense enough to stand up to the meat, cheese, and veggies. I defaulted to yellow mustard when I ordered, and I'm glad I did; combined with the malty soft pretzel taste, I was instantly transported to every sporting event ever. However, the pickle spear and side of creamy potato salad were much better complements to the sandwich than a cup of nacho cheese.

NYC Bagel Deli

1001 W North Avenue Chicago, IL 60642 (map)

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