Finally made it up to Arthur Ave after a trip to the zoo--and had the best sandwich I've ever eaten. Other than hamburgers, I didn't think I even liked sandwiches that much. Have been trying to figure out how to move to the neighborhood to visit more often. Trips to the zoo are going to be a lot more frequent over the next few toddler years. Had never been to the area and went straight to the indoor market--it's much smaller than I'd pictured but what a charming place. Was very hungry and in a hurry and went straight for Mike's deli sandwiches. Several firemen were waiting for their lunch so ended up with the towering inferno (smoked mozzarella and smoked prosciutto) and the fireman's s special (fresh mozzarella, ham, salami, roasted peppers, tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes and lettuce--and something else I'm forgetting). It was insane. Took it to go and ate it in the car before getting on the Bronx River Pkway--and expected to eat half of one sandwich and save the rest for dinner and the weekend. There's no way to describe how perfect the fireman's special was--balsamic vinegar usually overwhelms but might have been the key ingredient, the vegetables melted together without any parts sticking out more than they should, the crusty fresh bread held it all together even though the whole thing dripped all over the street (yes, car door open with moans of ecstasy coming from inside the car). How can a sandwich embody all that it did? I don't know but need to find out--are there other sandwich places closer to home (Brooklyn) with something this special? Thanks in advance!
A follow up visit to Mike's and the zoo this week just didn't even come close to the first visit. The same Fireman's Special sandwich was fine but not transporting. This one lacked the olive oil and vinegar and lettuce and perfect harmony of juicy flavors. Next time, we'll know to ask for those extras, but it seems so unlikely the perfect sandwich experience could be repeated. Will keep trying though.
Don't be disappointed. Often 2nd visits just don't have the same impact.
As with everything else, part of the whole new food experience is the thrill of discovery.
The 2nd time you anticipate a great experience. The first time it surprises and delights you. In the long run, like any other great relationship, consistancy will be the thing that matters.
I agree with bob: Lioni's makes a very delicious sandwich.
The place for mikes type sandwiches in Brooklyn is
7803 15th Ave at 78th St
They make their own mozzarella and have several hundred sandwich combination choices, both cold and hot. All are hand made to order. And the place is a real trip. Perhaps the last of its kind.
Two places that are very good for sandwiches are D'amicos just south of Degraw on Court st. and Mastellones on Court and Degraw. Mastellones was sold but I heard one of the old owners bought it back and so the sandwiches should still be what they were. D'amicos can be transcendent but it is best when the old guy is there. his kids are sloppy and do not put the same level of care into the sandwiches. My vote is for spicy cappacolla with the imported provolone. The one drawback over the past years at both places is the lousy bread in the neighborhood. Hopefully they will revert to using Camareri's semolina bread like in the good old days. . .
CATENE DELI !!! absolutely spectacular Italian Deli- family run for generations- delicious hero's, specialities are Calamari Parmigiano Hero, Shrimp Parm Hero, fresh hot rare Roast Beef Sandwich with fresh mozz, brown gravy, onions, salt and pepper, great eggplant parm, great Chicken Catchatorri, soups, and the straight up cold cuts are delicious. all the parmigiano's are served with sweet, medium, or spicy sauce- beware the spicy it is serious... a chicken parm medium from catene can't be beat... artfully served, always super fresh, super reasonable, my favorite lunch spot in town. no tables, take away only, SO GOOD! they are always listening to great blues or classic rock there (they are serious music heads over there). HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! corner of 4th ave and 9th st in park slope. enjoy frankbooth p.s. Difonte's is great too, but imho Catene takes more care with their fare...
Defonte's in Red Hook? At least they have the FDNY and NYPD's votes of confidence - I've usually been the only non "New York's (blank)est" in the place. Well, perhaps you could substitute hungri- for the (blank). Their sandwiches are very tasty, but haven't been in a long time so I can't elaborate on what are the bests.