BEST SANDWICHES (2004)
Culinary bad boy Chris Bianco is best known for his pizzas, but it's Bianco's other stab at digestive glory that garners our garlands: Pane Bianco, Bianco's sandwich shop next to the cooler-than-thou Lux Coffeebar. Bianco's panini don't taste overly sooty, a nice trick since they are house-made in a wood-fueled oven. The finished product makes for the perfect lunch when you have to go back to work and don't want to feel too heavy. The offerings are limited to three or four sandwiches and a couple of salads, all using superior ingredients such as roasted peppers, aged provolone and fresh mozzarella. The menu changes with the seasons, but the hours usually remain the same: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. We'd love to find the place open more often, and it's tough luck when you visit on a rainy day, as Bianco only offers outdoor seating, but in the case of Pane Bianco, excellence deserves some leeway, and we're more than happy to grant it.