Let’s play a little game. You know that word association game that psychiatrists use? I’m going to say a word and you say the first thing that comes to your mind. Ready?
I say: Sandwiches.
I can’t hear your response (feel free to leave it in the comments below), but I would bet that it wasn’t “sweet potatoes”. In fact, if you did say “sweet potatoes” you may want to go see an actual psychiatrist, because that’s not a normal association. And yet, there are two restaurants almost directly across Court St from each other that both feature sweet potato as the main ingredients in a sandwich. They are both so different that I thought I’d put them in a head-to-head battle.
I started at Nectar, a small sandwich shop and juice bar. Donny had been raving to me for a while about this sweet potato and avocado sandwich he’d had there, so I thought I’d give it a try. I found out later that Donny was a little concerned that he’d built it up to much, but I actually thought the sandwich was delicious. Cold, soft sweet potato and avocado may seem like an unlikely match, but it works well bound together with a horseradish and mustard vinaigrette.
Donny had also been to Van Horn Sandwich Shop, which is much more upscale than Nectar. They sell fancy sandwiches, as well as local products like La Newyorkina paletas. I sat down in their outside patio (this was way back in… July) and ordered their “Sweet PLT” — a vegetarian version of a BLT with crispy smoked sweet potato in place of the bacon. Unfortunately I found the sandwich dry and pretty flavorless. I’m not sure why the strips of sweet potato were so lacking in taste; there was no trace of the sweetness, and no saltiness to speak of. The only part of the sandwich that worked for me was the aioli that was too sparingly applied to the bun.
So in my opinion, Nectar wins this battle of the sweet potato sandwiches, by far. Don’t forget to leave your word association responses below!
Nectar — 198 Court St, Brooklyn
Van Horn — 231 Court St, Brooklyn