At least it’s not another banh mi place. We took a peek at the site of the forthcoming Hell’s Kitchen Asian sandwich shop Xie Xie (“Thank You,” in Chinese), the first in what will be a citywide—and perhaps nationwide—chain. At the helm of the project is Angelo Sosa, who served as executive sous-chef at Jean Georges for four years, put Yumcha on the map, and was recently consulting at the nightclub/excessive brunch monstrosity Merkato 55.
The restaurant, which will take up a small chunk of what once was and will actually continue to be Zanzibar, will serve Asian-inspired sandwiches, meaning “artisanal mainstream” items with Asian twists: Sosa’s takes on the lobster roll and French dip (lemongrass-marinated BBQ beef), braised pork belly in buns, and Vietnamese fish with turmeric and onions, for example. For dessert: fortune cookies filled with yuzu curd, as well as a play on the 1,000 year-old egg: caramel-flavored ice cream sandwich with a hollow compartment made to hold a nice chunk of, well, more caramel.
Even though it looks like there’s plenty left to be done in the space, Sosa is shooting for a late June opening, with a location at 32 St. Mark’s Place (at 2nd Ave.) to open as soon as the end of summer. Not surprisingly, he’s hoping to bring this thing “nationwide” and be the key competition for ‘wichcraft.