Tuesday afternoon, just as the polls were about to close for casting ballots on the 2016 Sandwich of the Year Awards (SOYA), a simple tuna sandwich was hastily prepared and entered into competition.
Although the tasting panel - which included Joel Robuchon, James "Mad Dawg" Mattis, Nancy Silverton and this reporter - were expecting a "good bite or two" they were stunned by, not only by the depth of flavor of the sandwich, - dubbed the "Eli Anderson Tuna Sandwich" or "EATS" - but by also by its simplicity.. By the time a second sandwich was consumed, it had earned a coveted nomination for a SOYA.
The sandwich was comprised of Bluefin tuna caught by Eli "The Old Man and the Sea" Anderson, Clark Street Bakery's seeded country bread, and a scrape of salted tarragon mayonnaise.
One can get the seeded loaf at the Clark Street Bread cart near the Broadway side of the Grand Central Market. And one can easily get some mayo, fresh tarragon and few grains of coarse sea salt that made the spread. But, the tuna will be more difficult.
"Where the goddamn hell did this tuna come from?", ask Mattis, who is expected to become U.S. Secretary of Defense in the near future. "I'm thinking whatever goddamn body of water this tuna lived and swam, we might need to take it over. And I don't care if it's from the goddamn Euphrates or goddamn the South China Sea.
When told Anderson caught the tuna off the coast of Southern California, Mattis seemed a bit deflated, but asked for another sandwich.
Robuchon, who has more Michelin stars than Michael Phelps has Olympic gold medals, said the tuna sandwich was "a culmination of careers of a fisherman [Anderson] and a baker [Zach Hall] coming together at the right time."