Shanghai 46: Shanghai-style Chinese in Fairfield, NJ
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Rare spicy tuna: sandwich

Rare spicy tuna sandwich

Some years back, I would often find myself eating lunch at Riingo. Riingo was a restaurant off the lobby in the now defunct Alex Hotel in midtown Manhattan (now called the Wyndham Midtown 25). Marcus Samuelsson was a co-owner, and presumably had a hand in the operation.

I suppose you'd describe the place as "Asian-fusion," but I never gave a description much thought until now. What I did give thought to was the pleasant, bright bar area, where after-work drinks often went down (along with the occasional during-work drinks).

Riingo was a friendly place. One of the bartenders was an interesting fella. A bit of a screenwriter and actor, with a quick and sharp wit. We'd spend the time trying to out-clever each other, and he was a formidable opponent. And a pretty good bartender overall. This was certainly at the beginning of the cocktail revival, and while he didn't seem much interested in bartending as a vocation, he did spend a good amount of time thinking about cocktails and coming up with new ideas. It's hard to believe now, but, back then, finding a bartender who knew his ass from his elbow, at a hotel bar no less, was not the norm. It was exceptional.

But I didn't call this meeting to tell you about that bartender or my hobbies. I called it to tell you about this silly tuna sandwich that they had on the lunch menu. It was a standard order for me (often paired with a crisp, acidic white or hoppy beer). The sandwich was essentially seared tuna, served on ciabatta, with spicy mayo. That's it.

It almost sounds like a waste of perfectly good tuna. Or, it sounds like the world's greatest tuna sandwich.

I haven't had this sandwich in almost eight years. Gosh that seems like a very long time. I fixed this situation the other day, when I put my own together.

Salt and pepper the tuna and sear for 10 seconds on each side. Slice, across the grain as much as possible. Mix mayo and sriracha to make spicy mayo (this is essentially what the "spicy" is in spicy tuna rolls that you'll find at sushi places). Slather a baguette or other suitable bread with the spicy mayo, put the tuna in there, and that's it.

I decided to throw some thinly sliced cucumbers and scallions in as well, because why not.

Now get back to whatever it was that you were doing.