New York has always been a sandwich town—we love our overstuffed deli classics, but we're also surprisingly open to regional sandwich variations. So it makes sense that New Yorkers would become enamored with muffulettas, the signature sandwich of our equally food-obsessed brethren down in New Orleans. A traditional muffauetta contains the following: a muffuletta loaf (a large, round bread, usually with sesame seeds), a layer of marinated olive salad, capicola, salami, pepperoni, ham, emmentaler cheese and provolone cheese. It's a glorious beast of a sandwich, bursting at the seams with salt and fat and glory.

As with any regional specialty that crosses state lines, some changes are to be expected—New York chefs like to snazz up their sandwiches. There are currently about two dozen restaurants in the city offering up their version of a muffuletta, and some are decidedly more traditional than others. Here's a look at who goes the classic route, and who takes some creative liberties, sometimes with disastrous results:


Fort Defiance:
Probably the most traditional muffuletta in the city. The owner shipped sandwiches from New Orleans's Central Grocery to Red Hook for inspection before putting his out. This sandwich includes every one of the classic ingredients, and nothing more.

Dive Bar and Dive 75: If you're uptown and craving a no-frills bar meal, hit either one of these low-key hangs for a muffuletta on crispy Italian bread filled with cappicola, mortadella, Genoa salami, ham and melted provolone, topped with Italian olive salad shipped from New Orleans, roasted peppers, onions, tomato and arugula. Pick off the arugula and you're almost there.

Ninth Ward: It's reassuring that a New Orleans-themed bar has a relatively solid rendition, featuring ham, salami, mortadella, provolone, mozzarella, olive and pickle tapenade. It's not exact, but it's close enough after a few Hurricanes.

Big Daddy's: Sure, it's kind of a cheesy place. But "The Big East Muffuletta" gets almost everything right: Genoa salami, Italian ham, and provolone cheese, topped with red peppers, pepperoncini, sweet onions, olives, red tomatoes, lettuce, olive oil and aged red wine vinegar on a grilled Italian Paesano roll.

Not-So Traditional

Brooklyn Bowl: A chicken muffuletta is not really a muffuletta. Roasted garlic is a nice touch, though.

Chelsea Manor: If for some reason you find yourself at this shiny Chelsea club for lunch, you can, if you're into this sort of thing, eat a muffuletta with turkey, proscuitto, salami, pepperoni and Swiss cheese, a sort of photo negative of an actual muffuletta sandwich.

Caffe Martier: Take the meat, provolone, and emmentaler out of the muffuletta, and replace with smoked mozzarella instead. Top with green olive tapenade and peppers, on whatever bread you want (though muffuletta-esque foccacia is "recommended.").

Gravy: Some experimentation we can handle, but this "Muffuletta Salad" sounds like someone dredged the bottom of a Southern fridge and threw it all together: Romaine lettuce, pepperoni chips, olives, Parmesan cheese, crushed eggs, crispy red onions and pimento cheese vinaigrette. Not endorsed.