Press 195 Rules The World Of Sandwiches And Beyond

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Savory steak pressed sandwiches, pork cutlet on a knish and much more at Press 195. (Photo by Steve Mosco)

Press 195 calls itself “the Sandwich Kings since 2002,” and a return trip to the restaurant’s Rockville Centre location reaffirms their claim to the throne.

Known for pressed sandwiches stuffed with flavorful meats, fresh veggies, and remarkable cheeses, Press 195 seems tightly clustered in a row of storefronts when viewed from the street. But as the doors open at 22 North Park Ave., you’re greeted with an expansive eatery that’s reminiscent of an airy beer hall. This is thanks to a recent renovation that has added brightness and elbow room to the neighborhood spot.

The sheer creativity behind Rockville Centre’s Press 195 makes it the perfect place to start an eating tour in the very walkable village. Few establishments have mastered the art of the sandwich quite like Press 195, as they serve lunch, dinner, and a rotating array of standout beers in a comfortable and friendly environment.

Before we get to the sandwiches, a quick word on chicken wings: Press 195 quietly boasts some of the best wings on Long Island. A 2017 Huffington Post article named Press 195 as one of seven best wings joints in the entire state—not bad for a restaurant that is far more well known for its sandwiches. The accolades are well deserved, as both their buffalo and barbecue wings absolutely nail the crucial simplicity wing-nuts are constantly craving.

Now, onto the sandwiches. Standouts include the No. 32, Jack’s Special, loaded with grilled chicken, fresh mozzarella, barbecue sauce, onions and pickles; the No. 38, with grilled marinated sliced steak, avocado, sweet onion jam, fresh mozzarella, and creamy roasted pepper dressing; and the No. 26, with turkey, smoked Canadian bacon, smoked Gouda, fresh tomato and roasted garlic spread.

But on this particular night, the brisket-loaded No. 46 and the veggie-infused No. 15 were the clear favorites. The No. 46 features shredded, slow-braised sweet brisket and caramelized onion sauce topped with crunchy, purple jalapeño coleslaw. The first bite reveals the time the chef puts into the brisket, as the sandwich’s depth of flavor is immediately apparent with smokiness giving way to sweetness then to the bright spiciness of jalapeño coleslaw.

The vegetarian No. 15 is no less impressive, with grilled portabella, fresh baby arugula and goat cheese with roasted garlic and black olive spread. The intense creaminess of the goat cheese is countered with the peppery bite of the arugula, with the garlicky olive spread providing plenty of aroma and the portabella bringing flavorful heft to the sandwich. Both sandwiches are elevated to unmatched, crisp heights with pressed, handcrafted Ciabatta bread.

Press 195 also offers a sandwich creation eaters would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else; a knish sandwich. This gift to enterprising eaters has a crunchy outer shell that gives way to a molten potato filling and inner contents that range from meatloaf to brisket to pastrami to veggies. Press 195’s newest knish creation is the Knitzel, with thinly sliced breaded pork cutlet, sweet red cabbage, Swiss cheese, and a side of gravy for dipping. It is this eater’s wish that more people looked to pork for their cutlet needs—and Press 195’s is tender, with a crisp, fried exterior that is perfectly suited for pickled cabbage. Overall, Press 195’s use of a knish as the “bread” for a sandwich is downright genius.

Each layer is important to the architecture of a Press 195 steak sandwich. (Photo by Steve Mosco)

Beyond sandwiches, Press 195 boasts salads, burgers and great appetizers including grilled asparagus with tomato and fresh mozzarella in the eatery’s proprietary pure maple syrup basil pesto. Another item you should absolutely order is Press 195’s improbable vegetarian chili. Why is it improbable? Because you will refuse to believe there is no meat in this warm bowl of wonder. Feel free to incredulously ask, “are you sure there’s no meat in this?” because the servers are used to it.

Rounding out the meal at Press 195 is, of course, the Belgium-style fries with an array of available dipping sauces. Hardly an afterthought, the fries are a must-order side dish—in fact, I’d go so far as to say they are the perfect fries.

But more than just a place for sandwiches and fries, Press 195 has one of the best craft beer selections in this, or any other village. It features seasonal brews and some usual favorites, as well as incredibly tasty choices that are hard to find anywhere else during a typical lunch hour, happy hour or supper time.

No matter how full you might be, give yourself the gift of dessert at Press 195, as their sweet creations are just as inventive as the savory. There’s a double chocolate brownie sundae, which is just as good as you can imagine. But the true treat is the Banana Bread Press—with banana bread stuffed with fresh banana, strawberry, and pure maple syrup, pressed until golden, and covered with ice cream and candied walnuts. You will gladly accept the caloric consequences.

Whether the beginning to a late night in Rockville Centre or the centerpiece of your evening, Press 195 will undoubtedly continue its long reign as the standard-bearer of sandwich majesty. Also, you’ll be thankful it’s located in a walkable village after such a hefty meal.

And if you’re looking for a place to host or cater your party, Rockville Centre’s Press 195 has the space, the staff, and the amazing food to pull it off.

Press 195, 22 N. Park Ave., Rockville Centre; www.press195.com; 516-536-1950

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