Having enjoyed the bill of fare at Press 195 in Rockville Centre, NY, I decided to experience their second location in Bayside (40-11 Bell Boulevard) where I was able to speak with the company’s Executive Chef, Brian Karp.
Although Brian was busy, he made time to chat with me about the menu. The title “Sandwich King” is on the back of the shirts. That’s his thing! What makes a difference is not just the combinations of what goes into a sandwich but the sauces that he creates.
Brian does not do the cooking. He gave instructions to Alejandro Tripiana, already a great chef, on how to prepare the sauces in Bayside, the same as he did with chef Tato Ortega in Rockville Centre. The rest is almost obvious from looking at the menu.
Both Press 195 locations have a lengthy restaurant, rather than a wide one. This locale begins with the bar area of many high tables and chairs as bars tend to have and probably meant more for “drinkers”. There are enough low ones to dine comfortably as well. Perfect for me.
Kaitlyn Martinez was my waitperson. She has been working there for 7 years. When I asked which sandwiches were the most popular, she called them out by number. Kaitlyn pointed out that beyond the bar area and past the dining area, there is a closed-in garden open year round. With the low temperature, that area is heated. You can also go past that and into the open garden, which is in use during the warmer months.
Press 195 is a popular spot for people in the area that are on their lunch break. Kaitlyn said that these sandwiches can come out fast enough for a half hour relaxing experience. The evening brings the beer crowd. That is due to the huge variety of tap and bottled beers.
Let’s get to the food. I’m now into tea. They have a green tea with pomegranate. Excellent. Kaitlyn also told me about a Sangria that they make. I had to taste it. White wine with seltzer, pineapple juice and orange juice. They then throw in julienned apples and top with a slice of orange. There is a red wine Sangria available as well.
Buffalo Chicken wings was my starter. I don’t like them hot. These had just the right “kick”. I’m sure other people would call it ultra-mild.
Now we get into the sandwiches. I had asked Brian as to what was made “in-house” as I’m certain that they did not create their own deli meats or cheeses. They do have a fresh Mozzarella. Meat balls, burgers, brisket, pork loin, and chicken. Brian’s favorite sauce is a pineapple sesame sriracha .
Since Thanksgiving was approaching, I selected the Thanksgiving sandwich made with a knish. You have the potatoes, turkey, fontina cheese, cranberry/pear chutney and gravy. The pear provides the sweet contrast to the sourness of the cranberries.
One of the newer panini sandwiches is one called Momma Karp’s. It had shredded slow braised brisket with a caramelized onions sauce. It is topped with a crunchy purple jalapeno coleslaw. Not skimpy on the meat and again just the kick in the cole slaw.
At Press 195 you can create your own sandwich. I remember having a particular one in Pittsburgh and wanted to duplicate it. I chose the pork loin as the meat and fresh mozzarella for the cheese. Then a tomato slice, cole slaw and Belgian Fries (which they are noted for) goes right into it. Wow.
I was too stuffed to have dessert. Brian told me that he makes a New York style cheesecake and a Carrot Cake (with a cream cheese frosting). I got a slice of the carrot cake to go.