It’s not so easy to find—much less get excited about— a sandwich every Wednesday. Sometimes the sandwich in question is perfectly fine, but just not exciting enough to write about. And sometimes, as is the case with the unicorn of al pastor tortas, it’s not there when I go looking for it. Which is why I am glad for Hendu’s Sandwich Shop. It’s always there whenever Dutch Kills Bar is open, and it’s always good.
Last night I stopped by in the hope that Bill Henderson would have something to get me out of my Sandwich Wednesday slump. “I’ve got a chicken bolognese grilled cheese,” he said when I asked what was new. “Uh, yeah sounds good,” I stammered.
While he assembled it, he told me how it came about. In the hopes that he would put a meatball hero on the menu one of the bouncers bought Henderson a meat grinder. The meatballs didn’t quite work out, but the grinder stayed. Shortly thereafter Henderson started making his chicken bolognese grilled cheese.
“I get my curds from Rosario’s,” he said as he layered on fresh mozzarella. “Curds from Rosario in Astoria!? Are you making your own mozzarella?” I asked. “Yeah, he was like, ‘what you want with curds?’” Hendu responded. “I’m gonna make cheese with ’em.” And what cheese it is, superbly creamy buffalo milk mozzarella..
As with many great sandwiches the chicken bolognese grilled cheese is greater than the sum of its parts. The lovely bolognese made from ground chicken thighs flavored with rosemary among many other things, melted cheese, and the swipe of garlic thyme butter that adorns every Hendu’s sandwich combined to restore my hope in sandwiches.
As for the name, “I just needed something to call it,” Henderson said. “I don’t even think people who order it for the first time know what to expect.” That said the occasional special does have a following. So if you visit Hendu’s, which is open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. along with the bar, you may not find the chicken bolognese grilled cheese, but you’re bound to find a great sandwich.
Hendu’s Sandwich Shop, Dutch Kills, 27-24 Jackson Ave, Long Island City