240 Sullivan Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 617-3995

There have been a spate of restaurants opening in recent years that focus on a single dish served in a variety of ways. Meatball Shop is a perfect example of this, and so too Peanut Butter & Co. in the West Village. Peanut butter sandwiches naturally make up the majority of their menu. There are other items for sure, like salad, but ordering one of those seems to defeat the whole point. 

So, the other day, a buddy of mine, Pike, was reading the New York Magazine food blog Grub Street, and came across an article from the past summer listing the best 101 sandwiches in New York City. Peanut Butter & Co. was in the list, cheap ,and was right next to the subway. Plus, one of the top 101 sandwiches in a city of a billion sandwiches? How could we not go?  Long Story short, Grub Street was wrong.

The staff was very friendly, it's absolutely a place that kids will love, the food came quickly, we got a table right away, you can't beat the nostalgia value, and while they're not giving anything away, it's not terribly pricey either. It's a comfortable place to sit and enjoy what amounts to jazzed up comfort food. But the bottom line is that we were pretty let unimpressed. I think that, deep down, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is already so close to perfection that improving upon it is a thankless task (I say this despite the fact that there are at least a dozen other blogs and food critics who get paid who disagree with me and have been thanking these guys for two years). There are a few, additions to be sure, that are good, like adding cream cheese, but you can do that at home any time you want with virtually no effort. So it makes sense to order something that would be time consuming. But Pike and I just felt that they don't work very well.

Pike ordered the Grub Street fave, The Elvis. Peanut butter, bacon, banana and honey on toast.  Was it decent? Yeah. Was it worthy of being in NYMag's top 100 list? No. My choice was The Heat Is On. Peanut butter, cold grilled chicken, and pineapple marmalade on white bread. The chicken was so heavily spiced that I could barely taste anything except it. I like things hot, but I also have this thing about flavor, and there simply wasn't any here.

Now, before you go thinking I'm all negative, we did not order any desserts, all of which looked pretty good. So maybe I'll come back for one of them. But the sandwiches were damn heavy and there was no way we could fit anything else in. In an ideal world, I'd also return and try one of the many other sandwiches that we obviously couldn't get to. But this time, I won't be quite as giddy as a kid in a peanut butter store.

Speaking of which, Peanut Butter & Co. also sells their brand of peanut butter.

Expect to pay somewhere in the vicinity of $8 for your sandwich, plus tax.

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