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italian hero / coldcuts

years ago it seemed as if any italian deli could make a really good hero (may be my memory or lack of discerning judgement), but now find it increasingly difficult to find. i realize that the basic meats are almost always boars head (not a problem), but no great sandwiches .looking in westchester. dante's was better when the old man still would make them. amici in harrison good but not great same with the other deli just down the street. mona lisa in eastchester seems about the best but still think there must be better. used to be a place in armonk in a small shopping center that consistently was best but long gone. any suggestions?

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  1. I think the bread is as important as the cold cuts (and I also don't think Boars Head is the end-all and be-all, especially for Italian cold cuts, but that's another story). I'm getting an Italian and an American hero later today myself and had to really think long and hard about where to go, delis just aren't what they used to be. But can't help you with specifics, just food for thought ;-)

    3 Replies
    1. re: coll

      Coll, you got it right, the bread makes the difference. I've eaten hero's since I was a kid growing up in the Arthur Ave. area in the Bronx. Whether you buy a hero at a deli or make your own at home, you must start out with good bread. Any bakery on Arthur Ave. makes bread that can't be beat. My favorite is Addeo Bakery. The name, Boars Head, doesn't mean the best since they make more than one line of cold cuts.

      1. re: coll

        my comment about boars head was because almost all deli's seem to rely on it,so the meat part is usually good but not great, the bread does indeed make a difference and as for cheese i like a strong provolgne and don't see what the shift towards fresh mozzarella is all about . the "dressing" oil and vinegar and the peppers also seem to matter, but again locally, there isn't much that really stands out

        1. re: rich51

          The italian combo I ordered at A & S was (perfectly juicy) oil ,vinegar, onion, peppers, lettuce, tomato, oregano, provolone (request imported), prosciutto, a really good salami, and mortadella held the cappy, hate it. on Arthur Avenue bread.

      2. Try Battaglia Brothers Meat Mkt. in New Rochelle. Haven't been there in awhile, but i've never been disappointed. They also make great Italian sausage.

        1. I like Dante's but A&S pork store in Yonkers makes a decent italian combo. I request it on half a seeded italian bread rather than wedge bread, a couple of more dollars but worth it ( you will need to share) They will of course customize it to your liking, They do carry boars head cold cuts (not my thing) in addition however they have store made roast beef (redolent of rosemary )and roast pork.

          1 Reply
          1. re: chowdom

            I had an amazing Italian combo from A&S last week. I requested a spicy version with no lettuce or tomato, but onions and hot and roasted peppers. It was the best Italian Combo I have had in decades. Nice layers of prosciutto, mortadella, provolone, salami, pepperoni, and another Italian cold cut or ham, which I can't remember.

          2. I usually stopped by Bon Appetites Deli in eastchester whenever I was in the area (they have a mean italian combo on a wedge for around $6-7)

            mind you this was a couple of years ago so they may not even be around anymore, but your italian hero request immediately sparked this particular deli in my mind.

            3 Replies
            1. re: discounteggroll

              casa d'italia on halstead avenue in harrison has an italian wedge and a number of interresting variations thereof that are the real deal!

              1. re: biga290

                A HUGE SECOND FOR THIS PLACE!! just had an awesome sandwich from casa d' italia on Halstead in Harrison. Not a great "shop" like Dantes or Cosmo Alex but as for pure sandwich on great bread it was tops! Ordered the casa special on a roll toasted. wow.

                For quicker service though and size you can not beat Anthony's or even better is the Firehouse deli in portchester/byram. Again these are not bronx delis full of cheeses and sausages and Italian products---just great sandwich makers!

                1. re: cubanat

                  I, too, love the sandwiches from casa d'italia in Harrison. Ask them to put it in the panini press for a real treat!

            2. I know whatcha mean. After living in Philly so long, the sandwiches here can't compare. I don't really understand why. The sandwiches here seem dry or something. I have a feeling Blimpie is the best thing around (and that is of course, a chain).

              1 Reply
              1. re: jcmods

                dry does seem to be part of the problem, oil ,vinegar,herbs and peppers provide an added layer to the sandwich and years ago it was there, now they seem to just stuff them for quantity ~who's is bigger? but not the quality

              2. I'm from Long Island but when I can I stop at J&G Deli at 502 New Rochelle Rd in Bronxville. I've known about them for years and I'm pretty sure their bread is from Arthur Ave.

                1. If you want a good sandwich, you gotta head over to Dante's, they have top of the line ingredients and are always making new items daily. Second favorite pace has to be zuccerelli's in Eastchester, Mona Lisa in Scarsdale takes a backseat, and Boun Amici in Scarsdale is overpriced and not as good.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: redsnake1234

                    Try anthonys deli in mamaroneck on Halstead ave. You will not be dissapointed. Order a Godfather. I bet you won't be able to finish it in one sitting.

                    1. re: redsnake1234

                      have to take issue with you redsnake about dante's vs. boun amici. i like them both, although i prefer boun amici because the service is quicker. both are, in my view, far superior to zuccarelli's.

                      1. re: redsnake1234

                        I feel Zuccarelli's in Eastchester has gone way down the past year or two. I went several times recently and the sandwiches were not very good. And I have been going there for around 30 years because they are friends of mine from childhood. But I stopped going and now only go to A&S in Yonkers.

                      2. Mona Lisa in Eastchester is great, but the wait can be excrutiating. Call ahead. Is Dante's the deli on Central Ave in White Plains? I've heard very conflicting reports on everything from sandwiches to hot food to service. I'm from Eastchester and don't like Bon Appetit at all. Zuccarelli's is great if you have a half hour to kill. The place has been open for forty years and you'd think it's everyone's first day on the job. Very pricey too. Food is good...I will say that.

                        I know it's almost impossible to find, but you find me a deli that doesn't sell Boar's Head and I'll show you some great cold cuts. Boar's Head s awful. It's why I stopped eating cold cuts.

                        And now I open up a can of worms. An Italian Combo is made that much better with great bread. I look for places that don't get their bread from Arthur Ave. I grew up in Brooklyn near a little place called Camarari's. If you've seen Moonstruck, you know the place. Long before the movie that place was making bread that made Arthur Ave taste like Wonder. I will never understand the love affair with Arthur Ave bread. It is pretty weak in my opinion.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: jhopp217

                          theres no such thing as 'arthur ave" bread, what does that mean, there are individual bakerys that make theor own breads, own style and tastes..no such thing as arthur ave bread lolololol

                          1. re: intrepid

                            OK, of all the bakeries there, I've never had bread from any of them and said "ooh that's great bread."

                            1. re: jhopp217

                              for example which bakerys have you had bread from, can you be specific please? thanks

                              1. re: intrepid

                                I have not been down there myself in years. I've had people travel down there, bring it back and act like they've eaten the best thing they've ever tasted. I've had it and it tasted no different than any other places. To be honest, I don't go out of my way for bread. I have a "connection" and it's some of, if not the best bread I've ever tasted, so why venture where I don't have to for mediocrity?

                                1. re: jhopp217

                                  understand your third hand comments i suggest you go to madonnia borthers, and then terranova bakery get an assortment of breads.. and evaluate then...im not saying these breads will change your life, i am saying they are very good-enjoy-thanks

                                  1. re: intrepid

                                    I like madonnia brothers too. However, my current favorite bread is the stuff Joe's in Fleetwood serves in their bread basket. They make it there. You can buy it also. (not the stuff they use for heroes though-that is meh).

                            2. re: intrepid

                              Well put! That said there is also a HUGE difference between getting ones bread on Arthur Ave out of the oven versus getting it from a place that carries something called Arhtur Ave. bread. that was delivered 2 days prior!

                              1. re: cubanat

                                I agree completely, but I've never had my socks knocked off by any of the so-called great places. Not that it's bad, but not just the heavenly experience many people in Westchester/Bronx make it out to be

                                1. re: jhopp217

                                  I've had both experiences. The last experience was I bought two rounds of "lard" bread now being called pancetta bread. One round was orgasmic. Ate it before leaving to come back home. Started the second one as I pulled onto Bronx River (so maybe ten minutes later) and it was wretched. It tore wrong. Obviously leftover from day before and they still sold it to me. I almost drove off the road as I spit it out it was so bad.

                          2. Cosmo and Alex in Mamaroneck makes excellent sandwiches and their bread is delicious.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: anonymouse1935

                              I used to caddy at Winged Foot almost twenty years ago. If that's the same place I used to get Italian combos from down the road from the GC I agree, it was very good. I still remember the bread.

                              There used to be a good Italian deli in Sleepy Hollow but the building was sold and knocked down for some offices.

                              Battaglia brothers in Dobbs Ferry is pretty good.

                              1. re: touchdown

                                Well, I just did a google and they're a 4 minute drive from each other -- could that be? Cosmo and Alex is near the Harbor Island end of Mamaroneck Ave.

                                Mercurio used to be excellent but since A&S took over they're awful.

                                1. re: anonymouse1935

                                  I disagree with anonymouse1935 referring to A&S as awful. I was a long-time customer of Mercurio's and continued to be a customer of A&S when they took over. I feel that they have a much bigger selection of everything, all meats & homemade dishes are fresh & prepared daily. If I were to buy an Italian combo elsewhere, my husband would know the difference, this is his favorite & we will not get it anywhere else. I highly recommend A&S & have used them to cater all my kids' parties & have received many compliments.

                            2. Dante's is still the best IMO in the White Plains area, Park Deli in Port Chester is very good too. Anthony at Dante's makes a fantastic sandwich and the hot foods are delicious too.