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Defonte's is not bad

Just had the roast beef with eggplant and fresh mozzarella.

Would give it more like a 3.5 instead of a 4 but the service was very good and they delivered on my request for bloody rare roast beef.

The reason I am not giving it higher is because by the time I brought it back to my office it was cold and rather soggy. The top of the bread was barely bread anymore. As for the roast beef it was perfectly rare but needed a heaping helping of some salt and pepper which helped.
I think they should load on a little more mozzarella and eggplant, which could have been crispier. Overall though a really good hearty sandwich and for $10 its a ton of food. I ate half and then just ate all the stuff out of the bread for the second half.

I am now regretting it because I am busting at the seams. They get kudos for giving he a HUGE container or the au jus to go with tons of delicious chunky onions. I popped that in the microwave and dipped the sandwich in it which really helped a bunch. Will definitely go back.

Defonte's Sandwich Shop
261 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010

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  1. I've never seen them offer the au jus before. Did you request it?

    It's great when the eggplant still has crunch.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sugartoof

      I did request it and the gentleman behidn the coutner who I believe was the owner gladly gave it to me right from the pan in a large plastic sealed container.

    2. I was neither blown away, nor horribly disappointed by it. I'd be willing to give the original location a shot.

      1. At times they definitely use too light a hand with the salt and pepper. But I like the balance of eggplant and mozz. Its an enormous sandwich as is and couldn't imagine any more. The eggplant gives it a nice crunch but isn't overwhelming (obv only when its crunchy). I never got a side of au jus either. Just the spooning of the juice on the top cutside of the bread.

        My favorite is still the roast pork with the hot salad (#34).

        1. That is interesting because I ordered a sandwich from Defonte's for my plane ride back to LA yesterday and it held up beautifully. It didn't have the au jus. It was the Italian sub sandwich with breaded eggplant, hot salad but no oil and vinegar. I ate it about 6 hours after the sandwich was made and it was excellent.

          I'm originally from NY but have been in LA for over 10 years. There is 1 place in LA that has good sandwiches like NY. The biggest disappointments are usually the bread and lack of quality cold cuts. I would kill to have some nice semolina heroes and good cold cuts in walking distance like Defonte's is from my old place.

          1. DeFonte's rocks!!! I've been going to the Brooklyn sammich shop on Luquer St since I was 6. My 90 year old cousin still lives across the street god bless her soul. I was thrilled when they opened the Manhattan location. The roast beef, eggplant and mozzarella sammich is one of my faves. Get a whole one and you have dinner for two days. Did I say, DeFonte's rocks???

            1 Reply
            1. re: Motosport

              I like to order the eggplant, fresh mozz and roasted rep peppers. I really wanted to like the hot salad but actually found it rather bland. It needed more pickled flavor.

            2. A pedantic correction: the sauce is simply jus, not au jus. So it would be containers of jus, not containers of au jus. Au jus means with the jus, or in jus.

              10 Replies
              1. re: gutsofsteel

                Ah, gos, a pedant after my own heart! :) And especially those of us who understand French. ;)

                I might as well add that we've had one sandwich from Defonte's. It was fine but not revelatory. Rave-worthy is this sandwich from Lamazou: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                1. re: RGR

                  A sandwich of salmon that does not sit on top of cream cheese with an onion just doesnt seem right.

                  1. re: princeofpork

                    I agree, though the pumpernickel is impressive. I've never seen that offered there before. Sandwiches there are just okay, unless you really know how to order.

                    1. re: sugartoof

                      I have eaten about 10 sandwiches from Lamazou. The bread matters and you do need to know what to order. However, after a few trys the result is worth it.

                      1. re: princeofpork

                        What do you suggest?

                        The pate' always looked tempting. I usually end up with their ciabatta.

                    2. re: princeofpork


                      I grew up on the traditional smoked salmon piled atop cream cheese and finished with a slice of onion. But I can say without a moment's hesitation that this Lamazou version is fantastic!


                      Don't know why you've never noticed it being offered before. With the eponymous name "Caprice de Lamazou," it has been #1 on the sandwich list for as long as I can remember.

                      Lamazou sandwich menu: http://www.lamazoucheese.com/document...

                      1. re: RGR

                        It's the bread I've never seen offered. Maybe they run out at lunchtime.

                        1. re: sugartoof

                          I like the #1 on the ciabatta, as well as the #2 (prosciutto, roasted peppers, and mozarella). They do a mean duck sandwich, which I get with lemon vinagrette instead of mustard.

                          It's funny how a discussion about Defonte's inevitably turned into a discussion about Lamazou. I think in terms of the value price point, Defonte's will fill you for lunch + dinner (half at each.) But it usually takes a whole Lamazou to do the trick for lunch. Lamazou's ingredients are generally finer, but Defonte's has a good chicken parm which is even better if you add the fried eggplant. I used to really like the hot ham but I think the hot salad is just to sour for my tastes.

                          370 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

                          1. re: windycity

                            Thanks for the tips...I've heard people order the duck and always that sounded interesting....and now I'm also eager to try Defonte's chicken parm.

                            I think you're right about portion size. Lamazou really depends on who is making it, and how friendly they're acting. It's always a better sandwich when they're feeling generous.

                            370 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

                  2. their best sandwich is the firehouse, roast pork, broccoli rabe, eggplant and i think provolone. it is a work of art.

                    1. I'm planning Defonte's for lunch sometime in next few days and am wondering -- how "smelly" are their sandwiches? The reason is I know I won't be able to finish the entire one, which means I have to carry some of it around and I'll be in closed quarters. Bad idea?

                      8 Replies
                        1. re: steakrules85

                          I didn't mean "smelly" in a literal sense -- maybe I have a sensitive nose but I can usually smell it if a person next to me has hot food and it's not always pleasant if there's no ventilation.

                          1. re: uwsister

                            These are more lukewarm than full on hot, and aside from a little grease smell from the eggplant, the jus, and beef scent is pretty mild. It would be like keeping any roast beef sandwich with you. It's not like a meatball sub or anything.

                        2. re: uwsister

                          just skip the onions and you'll be fine!

                          1. re: NellyNel

                            Ditto! No onions, no delightful aroma that others might find annoying.

                            1. re: Motosport

                              Great! Thanks to everyone who answered. I'll be getting one of those REALLY soon...

                          2. re: uwsister

                            I get what you mean. Don't order anything with the hot salad - it will be what you deem smelly.

                            1. re: windycity

                              Gotcha. Hot salad doesn't sound that great to me anyway -- maybe some other time.