His new series, aptly titled “Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America,” is sort of like the NCAA basketball tournament of food. Richman and his fortunate stomach will test out 30 sandwiches in 27 cities while dining on such mouthwatering meals as a crab grilled cheese, a shrimp po boy and something simply called “El Toro.” From these, he will select regional winners and, ultimately, some lucky sandwich will win the crown.
In the pilot episode, Richman begins in the Northeast. It is here that he goes to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New York to eat the best sandwich (“no burgers, no dogs, no burritos or wraps,” he explains) each town has to offer. While we won’t give away the winner, we will tell you that perhaps the biggest surprise is that the sandwich competing for Philadelphia was NOT a cheesesteak. That in itself is a major upset and will certainly stir up controversy in the City of Brotherly Love.
What makes the program work is Richman. Unlike similar shows that focus on dining for the rest of us (e.g., “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”), Richman is relatable and doesn’t get overly technical in his review of the meal. Sure, he’ll talk about balancing out flavors and the process by which the meat is made, but he doesn’t talk about it from a chef’s perspective. Rather it’s just his fascination with good food that comes across. It also doesn’t hurt that he gets to have a corned beef and pastrami sandwich at the famed Katz’s Deli in New York City.
The one thing that doesn’t seem to work on the show is Richman’s BITE evaluation system. He ranks each sandwich based on Bread, Interior, Taste and Eating Experience. The problem here is that each sandwich seems to get such high praise, it’s hard to see the point in going through this exercise. Perhaps there’s a better way of doing this with a point system or maybe he should just skip the whole thing entirely.
Richman found success in the competitive aspect of food on “M v F.” But this time around, instead of fighting against the food, he’s letting the meals settle the scores themselves. And it’s just as delicious as you would imagine.
“Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America” debuts on Travel Channel on June 6 at 9 p.m. ET.