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Best Italian Sandwiches in Brooklyn?

My weekend goal is to have an Italian cold cut sandwich and I'm not talking Subway. Any suggestions of where I should check out?

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  1. The Bagel Hole on 7th ave across from Methodist Hospital, the God Father! Awesome! Smiling Pizza on the corner of 7th Ave and 9th Street has an amazing meatball hero!

    I am always in search of the perfect one kind or another hero....

    Good luck!

    5 Replies
    1. re: roux42

      Don't know about their sandwiches, but they are bagels are godawful. It struck me as the type of place that can get away with catering mediocrity to people who don't know better because of an "ethnic" image.

      1. re: nokitsch

        Now this I disagree with, and I'm not at all sure what "ethnic" image you're talking about, since the people working there seem to be of a few differing ethnicities.. In fact, I agree with many who think that the Bagel Hole bagel may be the best bagel left in NYC. A real, old-style, small, dense & chewy classic New York bagel, and not one of those big puffy bread-y things that have become so common in recent years. But the store itself isn't sure about much, and whatever you do don't order one of their horrible microwaved egg sandwiches! Otherwise my earlier post below stands.

        Although it occurs to me now that the description by Roux above, "across from Methodist Hospital" may mean we're talking about 2 different places. I'm talking about the Bagel Hole, which is on 7th down near 12th St. Much closer to Methodist is the much bigger Bagel Delight, which I agree is pretty dire.

        1. re: Woodside Al

          It is possible that it was the second place you mention. I don't remember the name, just the location. It looked kinda like a regular run-of-the-mill bagel place/deli, lots of people on line.

          By "ethnic" I guess I meant more of a blue-collar Italian Brooklynite type of place that are becoming so "cherished" by the gentrifiers, because they are so "exotic" and "culturally diverse."

          1. re: Woodside Al

            With all due respect to Woodside Al, with whose opinions I usually concur, I have to disagree with the statement above about the Bagel Hole and the one below about the A&S Pork Store. In my opinion, they are both mediocre at best. Starting with the Bagel Hole -- the bagels are often too chewy, the spreads are typically bland, and the service is usually atrocious -- mostly because, in my experience, the staff don't care to speak/understand English and virtually always screw up some aspect of the order. I mean adding coffee to your order typically presents an insurmountable obstacle for them.... Back to the merits, however, their bagels pale in comparison to those sold in other parts of the City and, in my opinion, are only considered good due to the general dearth of options in the Slope.... Second, the A&S Pork Store could be the biggest let down in the neighborhood. It should be great (history, look, etc.), and I really wanted it to be great, but my one experience with the store proved to be the exact opposite. Growing up in Corona, Queens, I learned that the true test of any so-called "authentic" Italian pork store is how good or bad their chicken parm heros are. They can offer other things, but they have to do that well. My wife and I sampled theirs about two years ago -- which was the first and last time we've been in the store -- all excited and ended up throwing the food in the garbage literally within minutes after leaving the store. It was atrocious.... Almost as bad as those soggy pizza deliveries from Anthony's.... In the end, I'd go to war with Russo's #7 hot pannini any day of the week....

            1. re: Deuce

              Well, I'll agree with you that the service (and the atmosphere, and just about anything else but the bagels) is terrible at the Bagel Hole.

              I really wouldn't have thought to order a hot hero at A&S. Since they don't have a grill or an oven as far as I know I shudder to think how they cooked it. I'm not claiming they're the greatest, just better than the recommendations made above for Italian sndwiches in Brooklyn. But wherever you rank them, the cold cut sandwiches, particularly with the mozz, are definitely what to order there (and some sausage to cook at home).

      2. In Park Slope Catene's on 9th St. or A&S Pork Store on 5th Ave. are both much better than the places recommended above (Bagel Hole is great for bagels, but not a place I would go to get sandwiches, and is definitely not Italian). A&S is particularly good for the kind of cold cut sandwich you seek. Catene's is better for hot heroes. Defonte's in Red Hook is great for roast beef heroes, makes a damn good meatball too, and has some other fine stuff.

        Even better are several places out in the southern part of the borough. John's on Stillwell near 86th St. has always been a favorite of mine ever since I lived out that way many years ago. I don't get out that way much anymore though so I don't know much about any other places, but that is still a neighborhod with a lot of Italian places. I would think a search of this board for Brooklyn heroes would bring up some more choices.

        You should be aware that a lot of these places are closed on Sunday.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Woodside Al

          I agree with AL's suggestions. Just wanted to add another possibility: the Pollio store in 5th Avenue makes pretty good Italian sandwiches.

          1. re: parkslopemama

            In PS, A&S is better than Pollios (I had a couple of crappy sandwiches there and stopped going) but you have to leave the Slope to get at a better sandwich! United Meat in Windsor Terrace makes a pretty good sandwich, and it's close for the South Slopers.

            For me the test is the fresh mozz and the marinated peppers, and A&S makes mozz on site, so if it's still warm you are in business. I'd say the cold cuts and marinated stuff is just okay. Still, one of the best sandwiches in walking distance of my apt.
            But leave the Slope already!

            I haven't tried all the Carroll Gardens places, but I like Piazza Mercado in Bay Ridge best so far. They have very good prosciutto and Royal Crown Bakery bread - 2nd Ave (or is it 3rd Ave?) at 92nd St.

          2. re: Woodside Al

            i've been having a craving for a great chicken parm sub...i'm nearby catene's but never gone there. do that do that well???

          3. Catene! the king! his italians are delicious, fresh, tasty. all his heroes, hot and cold, are just first class. corner of 9th st and 4th avenue. enjoy fb

            6 Replies
            1. re: frankbooth

              Plus I saw one of the guys in ZZ Top there (Catene) the other day picking up a sandwich. I'd strongly recommend Lioni's Latticini on 13th Ave. No offense to Catene.

              1. re: rootytootyfreshnfrooty

                Absolutely second Lioni's. The atmosphere of this place is out of central casting. I'm sure it's just what the OP would want. They have several hundred named sandwich combos both cold and hot. Every one one made up (and the hot ones cooked up) fresh. Many are made with their excellent fresh (or smoked) mozzarella.

                1. re: bobjbkln

                  Third, get a "Lucca Brazzi" ;-) ... (BTW I think it's 15th Ave)
                  and make sure to swing past Cannoli Plus, pick up the frozen sfogliatelle for home.

                  1. re: TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis

                    Yeah- you're right it's 15th Ave....

                    My favorite is the diCaprio (of course, you can't order by name, you gotta order by number- i think it's about 103- been a couple of years)- Italian meat and cheese with stuffed peppers on the sandwich. fock.

                2. re: rootytootyfreshnfrooty

                  OFF TOPIC: Are you sure you saw a ZZ Top there? Which guy? Holy crap! What day? Actually, there is a possible explanation, non-food wise. But, food-wise, Billy Gibbons is known especially as a man of quite lofty and specific passions and tastes.

                3. re: frankbooth

                  The cold subs at Catene are certainly as good any I've had, but I go for those incredible calamari subs. The calamari itself has that perfect snap to it, and their sauce has some real spice to it. Plus its huge and reheats well enough that you could live off of it for a whole weekend.

                4. Tre Fratelli's. In Sheepshead Bay, Avenue Z/East 23rd Street.
                  Drive slow or you'll miss it. They have a huge menu of sandwich's but if your not into what they have listed, make up your own. Oh, and the hot food is very good too, all old fashioned Italian dishes - depending on the day of the week - meatballs in gravy is a staple as is the fried eggplant.
                  The store is clean, the food is fresh and the service is excellent.

                  1. Defonte's in Red Hook (corner of Columbia and Luquer). Their meatball parmesan sub is truly heaven. They also have eggplant parm, chicken parm, sausage&eggs, potatoes&eggs, steak&peppers, sausage&peppers, hot ham, hot corned beef, and a large selection of coldcuts. Yum, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: redherring

                      Note that Defonte's closes early and is not open on Sunday.

                    2. Paisanos, the butcher on Smith st. makes a pretty mean italian sandwhich. And it's probably bigger than your head. Serious.

                      1 Reply
                      1. John's Deli, off 86th Street I think on 25th Avenue.

                        1. Caputos (Court St. & 3rd). My go-to spot for top-notch Italian cold cut sandwiches. I prefer hot coppa & prosciutto with provolone or fresh mozz with hot vinegar peppers. But they have everything you might want. Check their times, though. Might not be open on Sunday.

                          1. Assuming DiFara's reopens their hero's were very good. Meatball in particular.

                            1. Just weighing in on the Bagel Hole question. I agree with Al--a classic NY bagel. Anybody who thinks they're too chewy didn't grow up in NY in the 60s, when you could get a real bagel all over the city. Perhaps they're chewy in comparison to the puffy modern bagel, but those would be laughed out of the old country.

                              However, somebody said they're across the street from Methodist Hospital. Not true, they're around 11th Street. The one close to Methodist is the ridiculously named La Bagel Delight, which sells a textbook example of a bad bagel.

                              http://petercherches.blogspot.com

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Peter Cherches

                                Hi. Just to respond quickly -- while I thank you for making feel young, I'm no spring chicken (born in '68), and, in my opinion, they're just not that great relative to what's offered in other parts of the City -- and certainly fall short when compared to the bagels I grew up eating in Queens and Manhattan in the 70s and 80s.... When you throw in the lousy service and all the screw-ups, it's just not worth the trip for me anymore. If you're in that neck of the woods, you might as well go to Connecticut Muffin! Again, just an opinion....

                                1. re: Deuce

                                  Sorry, but you're a spring chicken for another year.

                                  1. re: Deuce

                                    since the bagel hole comes the closest for me to the bagels i remember from my youth (very chewy, not puffy, smaller) i'd be curious to know what these other places you've now mentioned twice are. good bagels are worth traveling for.

                                    as to the sandwich question, i'll throw in a rec for brooklyn bread on court street in carroll gardens. Good italian sandwiches on good bread they make there. Also joe's perette on smith has decent cold italian heroes--tho the best thing about them is that you can get some fabulous rice balls on the side. Some people also like the heroes at esposito's pork store, also on court.
                                    ferdinando's, as far as i know, only does the panelle and the spleen sandwiches, which are great. do they do others?
                                    for the best "old brooklyn" all around experience and a great sandwich, check out Defonte's.

                                    1. re: missmasala

                                      Yes, missmasala -- Ferdinando's also has the following hot sandwiches:

                                      Eggplant Alla Siciliana
                                      Meat Ball Parm
                                      Veal Cutlet Parm
                                      Sausage Parm

                                2. Ferdinando's Focacceria in Carroll Gardens.
                                  http://nymag.com/nymetro/food/guides/...

                                  The most old world sandwich shop in Brooklyn. Step into another place and time.

                                  1. One more thought: if you happen to be in Downtown Brooklyn/MetroTech/courthouses, you could do far worse than go to Garden of Eden. Their hero rolls aren't very good but they have a pretty nice variety of imported Italian meats and cheeses. They have a delicious hot coppa and a ton of different salamis. They also have roasted red peppers, though I don't think they're very good. No hot peppers though. But for just meat and some provolone and some oil, it's a nice, close option.

                                    Again, this is not for any hot items like chicken parm and the like. Only for cold cuts.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: gangly handful

                                      You lost me at "their hero rolls aren't very good." If the bread's no good, the sandwich sucks. Period. I don't care how good the meat inside is.

                                      1. re: HankyT

                                        So don't eat there. Period. Just pointing out a closer option to where many people happen to work.

                                        1. re: gangly handful

                                          Right. Sorry if i seemed snippy before. It's just that, to me, it shouldn't be put up on a thread about "Best Itallian Sandwiches in Bklyn" if the bread's no good. If the meat's great, maybe people should get a decent loaf somewhere else and put their own sandwiches together. Good bread -- and good tortillas -- or the lack thereof, is a personal pet peeve of mine. Bread is 50% or more of most sandwiches, for heaven's sake! As for the tortilla thing: have a regular burrito/quesadilla at California Taqueria or something, then go to the Red Hook ballfields and get a quesadilla from the place just to the right of the corner. Their tortilla is a revelation in comparison to the machine made variety.