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Jersey-style Italian Hero (AKA Sub)

I've had the Godmother at Bay Cities, and Sorrentos' version too, and both left me thoroughly unimpressed.

I’m looking for a solid east-coast style Italian hero, piled high with ham, salami and good provolone, plus shredded lettuce, sliced tomato and oil and vinegar on a crusty (not limp) Italian roll.

I’m open to other interpretations, if they improve not detract. And while I’d prefer places located between Beverly Hill and Silver Lake, I’ll certainly consider all LA County comers.

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  1. A-1 Italian Import Market in San Pedro. They make a proper Italian sub without mayo or any other extraneous junk on fresh bread

    1. Dave's Chillin-n-Grillin in Eagle Rock (on the corner of Eagle Rock and Colorado) has the best Italian sandwich I've had on this coast, and one of the best I've had, period (and I'm from New Jersey). Dave is from Boston, has the best ingredients, and is a really great guy to boot.

        1. I think your nostalgia may be getting the best of you. I've eaten subs from east to west, and I haven't found many that beat Bay Cities. I'd try it again if I were you.

          12 Replies
          1. re: soccerandlost

            Not at all. Bay Cities doesn't even approach what I grew up on in Jersey. A whole other animal.

            Heros out here seem to be made by layering 1 or 2 slices of a few kinds of meat together with 1 or 2 slices of cheese. And they're served on these limp, spongy rolls. Bay Cities is a perfect example.

            Back east they START by piling about a half-pound of shaved ham onto a solid, crusty roll and then add about 3 times more meat, cheese and fixings than anything I've found here yet.

            The sandwich I'm talking about could be used as a weapon. Whereas Bay Cities' might be good to steady a wobbly chair.

            1. re: wutzizname

              The bread is a bit of a problem, but Mario's deli in Glendale is way above average. Larchmont Wine and Cheese has great sandwiches, but they could never be called Heroes. The little Italian bakery on Colorado in Eagle Rock has good Mortadella sands, super fresh bread, but again, it ain't Jersey.

              1. re: wutzizname

                I, too, grew up in New Jersey, but a standard 10" or 12" sub has about eight to twelve ounces of meat and cheese in it, not two pounds. :)

                That said, honestly, the closest I've come is Togo's (sob).

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  Hey, no reason to sob about Togo's. Except for me here in Westwood, where both the branch on Westwood Blvd. in the village and also the one in Brentwood on Wilshire between Barrington and Bundy both closed a couple of years ago. Now the closest one is all the way down on Venice Blvd. across from the Wendy's or all the way in MDR near the Costco. Togo's does a solid sandwich, not too chintzy with the meats, and good follow-up with the condiments, including pepperoncini. Good value.

                  I went to college in CT where there were small groceries selling grinders. Rolls were shorter with harder crusts. Big difference as I remember was the Italian dressing they would put on. Good, very solid sandwiches for a tasty filling lunch, but the meat and condiments were contained within the bun and certainly not mile-high. They were balanced -- bread vs. meat and vegies, meaty/spicy vs. tart/fresh/crunchy, salty vs. tangy.

                  1. re: nosh

                    Togo's does my favorite cheap pastrami sandwich...love those pepperoncini!

                    1. re: a_and_w

                      Just be sure the sandwich-maker slices them up before putting them on the sandwich. If not, all of the brine inside the pepperoncini will squirt out and wet down your sub too much.

                2. re: wutzizname

                  >>And they're served on these limp, spongy rolls. Bay Cities is a perfect example.<<

                  Bay Cities rolls are limp and spongy? I can say that has NEVER been true in the 12 or so times I have had a godmother.

                  1. re: wutzizname

                    You're right -- Bay Cities subs are not served on bread that could be used as a weapon. But to say that their subs are limp and springy is flat out ridiculous. I'm Italian myself and from the east coast, and I can tell you that Bay Cities is among the best Italian sub shops around, and BETTER than the vast majority of them, east or west.

                    I will admit that I have never gotten a sub at your place in NJ, or anywhere in NJ for that matter. And now, given your description, I know not to.

                    1. re: soccerandlost

                      OK, I finally tried the (small) Godmother at Bay Cities today and was really impressed. That's one seriously delicious sandwich served on crisp and tasty bread. I was a major skeptic, but consider me converted -- this was better than most subs I had back east. Reminded me just a bit of Italian delis like Genova up north in the SF Bay Area. Only downers were the bland potato salad and marinated mushrooms...I like the latter more garlicky.

                    2. re: wutzizname

                      Not that I am a Bay Cities lover, their bread is anything but limp & spongy, they do a great crusty roll. Now Eagle Rock Itaialn Deli does a great sandwich on a great roll, but it is no way loaded with that much meat, they will add extra meat for $1 or so more. You might want to try Eastside Deli near Chinatown, they make a huge sandwich, but the rolls as I recall are the softer variety. Good luck on your quest! Wait Wait, there is De Francos in the Valley near the Flyaway, just get it with out the pickles.

                      1. re: wutzizname

                        completely concur re: the bread served at Bay Cities.

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          Are you agreeing with wutzizname that (for example) the Godmother is served on "...these limp, spongy rolls."? Because, if that is the case, I can only conclude you must have something akin to the dental work and mandibles on the bad guy that Richard 'Jaws' Kiel played in the Sean Connery/James Bond flick "The Spy Who Loved Me."

                    3. This really is a burning question, I made a search a couple years ago and gave up. But I've driven by a place on Jefferson near the freeway in Culver City, anyone been?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: rancherostyl

                        There's Sorrento's on Sepulveda near Jefferson in Culver City. Is that what you're thinking of?

                        1. re: soccerandlost

                          I think that is it, looks god from the outside, have you been inside?

                          1. re: rancherostyl

                            ElJeffe is right. Sorrento's doesn't hold a candle to Bay Cities in any respect. Not with regard to the subs. Not the other food. Not the pastries. Not the imported goods. None of 'em. I know of no reason to go to Sorrento's.