I went to Brooklyn Larder yesterday to pick up some Early Bird Granola (that stuff is awesome and worth the $$) and decided to pick up a porchetta sandwich for my husband and a half pount of mortadella, which I asked them to slice thin. The place is cute and while the grocery offerings are somewhat overpriced, it's a fun mix of delicacies that I could see going back to from time to time to treat myself.
As far as the sandwich and mortadella went -- I was really unimpressed with the mortadella. To be done right, it has to be sliced thin, which is what I specifically requested. It was sliced as thick as baloney, the outer skin hadn't been peeled (no one in the U.S. seems to do this, but in Italy it's done not only in the salumieri, but also a normal grocery store deli counter) and it was over $9 for half a pound of Framani, which I know from Fairway to be American made. Good American made, but still, we're not talking about imported from Parma. I didn't try the porchetta sandwhich, but my husband was unimpressed. It cost $8.50 and I had to open it up to make sure they hadn't given me something else, it was so thin it looked like another cold cut order. I actually hate sandwiches where the meat is piled on, but this was flat like a panino and not very long, either.
Still, it seemed like a cool place and I hope it does well. One thing is for sure, if they are going to get away with that sort of pricing, they need to better train their staff on the art of cutting cured meats.
Id been planning to start a thread to express my satisfaction with recent purchases. I have bought their porchetta by the pound several times - it is very thinly sliced unless you request otherwise, made from heritage pork and it is delicious. I dont know how it would be on a panino, it seems to me that because of the high degree of fat it lends itself better to being laid on a thin slice of warm bread - you get some of the slightly melting lardo effect. More than a little bit would be too much, like a slab of butter or lard - so maybe the sandwich concept doesnt work too well - or maybe they should work on a more rustic, less heavily fat porchetta recipe.
I buy prosciutto di san daniele from them, and they always cut off the first slice and pare down the meat appropriately and slice as I request. the last 1/2 lb batch was exquisite. beautiful delicious thin slices. On another recent visit, I the cutter was unable to take sufficient high quality slices from the leg piece before (he said) it would get too stringy, so he gave the 5 cuts to me free. On other occasions I have asked for thicker cuts and they complied.
I am really, really surprised about your mortadella experience which would seem like an aberration rather than typical. It would be worth talking to them about it..
Just wanted to add that on Labor Day we enjoyed two special delicacies, a fantastic perfectly ripened french soft cheese and a cut of house-made rabbit pate with a square of bacon in the middle which was also great. I feel very lucky to have a place making and selling food of this quality so near my home. It seems almost unbelievable. Yes, its pricy, but these items were really topflight.