Best Italian Heros in Manhattan
- guttergourmet Jul 5, 2006 08:01 PM
The Message Board police get mad at me if I include places in the outer boroughs (forgive me Leo's/Mama's) so without further ado I would put #1 Italian Food Center on Grand. #2 Alidoro FKA Melampo on Sullivan. #3 Faicco's on Bleecker. #4 Parisi on Mott. My preferred combo: proscuitto di parma, sweet soppressatta, Italian fontina, hot and sweet peppers on a semolina bread. Despana makes some wicked Spanish bocadillas though. And don't even get me started on banh mi places.
The Italian Special Hero at Faicco's Pork Store on Bleecker gets my vote for first place, though all of the places you've listed are worthy.
Though I respect their history, I don't like either of the Manganaro's. Anyone who puts lettuce and tomatoes on an Italian hero should be shot. Although you just made me realize that I forgot to mention Tony Luke's Roast Pork Italian 10 blocks north is one of the greatest #$%#@%& sandwiches in the universe.
You may want to reconsider Italian Food Center. I have been eating sandwiches from that place for 20 years although not very frequently the last couple of years as they have gone way downhill in my opinion. Two weeks ago they were closed for a few days by the health department. The real problem though is the food. You mention you like proscuitto de parma, did you know that if you don't ask for that by nane they put cheap canadian proscuitto on all the sandwiches. Add another couple of dollars if you want the real thing. I notice they now advertise with big window signs and a neon sign over the counter that they sell sushi! The IFC sells sushi,that is sad. I would also note as a fellow red pepper lover that the ones they use come straight out of a jar, they can't be bothered actually roasting them in the kitchen. I now get my Italian sandwiches fromm Alleva on Grand just across Mulberery. Better food and service and if you stand on Mulberry you can look in the window to the kitchen and watch the guy make the mozz by hand. I do like your other choices very much particularly Faicco's.
The problem for me is the bread. Same issue as why you need to go to Philly for a proper cheesesteak. If by semolina bread you mean those very yellow long hero rolls, they are simply too dry to make a proper hoagie, at least for my taste.
Because of the bread, I've never found an Italian hoagie in Manhattan I can wholeheartedly recommend.
It's not a traditional Italian hero, but I think the sandwiches are pretty good at Abbondanza in the village. They will toast the bread in the oven, which is very important to get a good sandwich. They have a nice ciabatta bread, but many others to choose from as well. Of the spreads, pesto is by far the best.
There were some reports of it going downhill after the ownership changed, but I went back recently and thought it was almost as good as it used to be. And at 6 dollars for a good sized sandwich, it's a pretty good deal.