What’s more nostalgic than a white-bread sandwich? The squishy-soft bread used to bookend your lunch-box PB&J or ham and cheese—before everyone caught on to the wonders of whole grains. But now chefs across the country are revisiting the classic white-bread sandwich and elevating it for grown-up tastes.
The current sando trend is an offshoot of the katsu craze that dominated trendy eateries last year with crustless constructions of crunchy battered meats flanked by fluffy Japanese-style milk bread. But the latest take goes beyond the cutlet category. Konbi café in Los Angeles blew up on Instagram, thanks to its egg-salad sandwich, which amps up the afternoon-tea staple with scallions and rice wine vinegar. “Sandos are undeniable,” says Konbi’s co-chef and co-owner Akira Akuto. “Once you have one that’s actually good, you want them all the time.”
At David Chang’s fast-casual Peach Mart in New York City, the souped-up sandos were “originally inspired by Japanese convenience stores,” says Momofuku CEO Marguerite Mariscal. One social media standout is the Black & White, a PB&J twist featuring black-sesame paste, cream cheese, and citron jam.
To re-create the sando trend at home, opt for the whitest, fluffiest loaf you can find. “It’s more about texture than it is flavor,” says Mariscal. And always remember: Cut those crusts!