Last week, Central Bistro and Bar debuted lunch service (Wednesday through Friday) with a menu that ranges from bowls of cozy tomato soup to sophisticated mushroom tartines. The dish that I keep thinking about (and I’ve tasted the entire menu) is the chicken salad sandwich. Sound basic? Perhaps, but executive chef Gerard Strong’s take on the classic is modern, jammed with flavor, and, above all, memorable. (It’s also on-trend: Bon Appétit’s April issue declares 2013 as “a golden age for sandwiches.”)

Strong packs Central’s offering with a balance of rich, confit thigh meat (meaning it’s cooked submerged in fat) and pulled breast meat. Tossed with tangy aïoli, topped with crunchy apples, and tucked between grilled slices of sourdough bread, this is a sandwich you’ll go back for—again and again. And those ultralight potato chips that come on the side? The supremely thin, airy crisps are cut on a meat slicer. (For extra crunch, consider adding a couple to your sandwich.)

Happy Hour: On Fridays, Central is open from lunch (11 a.m.–2 p.m.) right on through to dinner, with an extended happy hour from 2–6 p.m. To aid longevity, order the “light” cocktails with less booze (and lower prices) than the dinner variety. For more on the “low-to-no” drink trend, click here.

1691 Central St., 303-477-4582