That’s a bunch of baloney!
Before the days of the locavore and organic food fads–before vegan and gluten-free and single-origin came into our culinary vernacular–we had the blissfully ignorant days of our youth, where there could be nothing better than your mom packing you a bologna and cheese sandwich for lunch. That fatty, salty lunchmeat that you knew was supposed to be inferior to turkey and ham and even stinky tuna fish, but you loved it more than all the others because you felt like you were eating mom-approved junk food, having something delicious that can’t possibly be good for you and getting away with it to boot. And if you had this assumption, you were pretty much right: bologna, a type of fatty sausage made of finely ground meat, is based on the lardy sausage mortadella, which originated in the Bologna region of Italy. Our bologna, however, is all-American, and isn’t found in many antipasto salads. Instead, it’s a lunch meat staple, finding itself in between pieces of Wonder Bread for decades, either prepared plain or “fried”: charred in a pan until the edges are crispy, bringing out the extra fat and flavor of the meat. Come on, don’t tell me you’ve never had a fried bologna sandwich before!
Well, if you haven’t–which I find hard to believe, I thought I had discovered the lost city of gold when I fried my first slice of bologna–you can try it in a high-end New York City restaurant. That’s right, bologna isn’t just for the cafeteria table anymore! Seersucker in Carroll Gardens is all about bringing Southern comfort food to the foot of Brooklynites everywhere. Chef Robert Newton is passionate about bringing his Arkansas culinary roots to the Northeast with down-to-earth dishes like a pimento cheese sampler, chicken and dumplings, and pecan tarts. But the standout of his menu isn’t even on his menu: it’s the fried bologna sandwich, served as a snack at the bar. Served on an English muffin, this treat can bring anyone back to their childhood, where they didn’t care about whether the food they’re stuffing into their mouths had a face or if it came from a organic farm in the Hudson Valley or anything. You knew what tasted good, and you ate it. And this sandwich is all freakin’ good. It may not be gourmet, but on National Bologna Day, this is exactly what you’re looking for.
329 Smith St (at Carroll St), Carroll Gardens
“Arkansas native Robert Newton channels his mom’s cooking in several dishes at Seersucker, which eschews barbecue-driven southern fare in favor of home cooking from the “southeastern corridor—Mississippi to North Carolina, the Virginas and Florida.” His dressed-up fried bologna sandwich—sold as a bar snack for $5—swaps out the Wonder Bread for a sturdy English muffin and deploys a spicy dose of Dijon to balance the porkiness of buttery sauted bologna.”–Time Out New York
“Seersucker is splitting the difference deliciously between local and southern. Chef Robert Newton is sourcing from upstate farmers, the Carroll Gardens farmers’ market across the street, and local producers like Blue Marble Ice Cream, Red Hook Winery and Sixpoint Craft Ales, but his cuisine is inspired by the American South—Stoneground Grits Spoonbread, Crispy Pig’s Foot, Fried Bologna Sandwich, Pork Belly and Collard Greens, scratch biscuits.”–Slow Food NYC
“Getting back to the nostalgia possibilities of the meal, the bologna sandwich was far different from what I used to create in my microwave all those years ago. This bologna had been pan-fried until it was practically burned and crispy. It was wedged between two soft, buttery english muffins that had been smeared with a hint of spicy mustard. The flavor brought up another childhood food memory: well-done, grilled hot dogs. The mustard was a nice, smart addition but I could have used a bit more because I found the sandwich a little dry. All the moisture had been cooked out of the processed meat and so it was all crunchy texture, salty processed flavors, and no moist, tenderness. Maybe that’s a good thing as bologna tends to have that soft, strange mouthfeel when not killed in a pan.”–Eat This NY
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“With that said, food wise, I had the fried bologna sandwich and the winter vegetable salad. Both were banging! The salad was delicious. Seriously! I want to know how to make this salad myself because I could totally eat this all the time. It had brussel sprouts, white beans, cauliflower, spelt and a bit of cheese, I think. It also had a delicious dijon tasting dressing. It was so good! It was also the prefect accompaniment for the bologna sandwich which was a simple english muffin with mustard and three very fried pieces of bologna. And we’re talking good quality bologna. Yum!”–Sara S.
“I’m so glad this place finally exists. This is all the food I grew up on in the south and I always thought someone needed to open a nice southern restaurant with good wine. It didn’t have to be cliche and excessively greasy like some places I’ve tried. We had the southern sampler, grits cake, bologna sandwich, biscuits, chicken and dumplings, fried chicken, shrimp and grits, mac n cheese. All of it was delicious.”–Vicki C.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!