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Best Italian sub in Boston Financial District ... EVER

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Wheels1 Dec 28, 2010 08:37 AM

Let me just say I have lived in the Boston area for 15 years and finally I have found an Italian Hero ( sub) in the Financial District worth talking about. I just visited Casa Razdora @ 115 Water Street ( old Sam and Anne's ) and I must say I was pleasantly surprised . Being a native New Yorker ... I must say that 99% of the food in this town is average at best ... but things are about to change. For just under 7 bucks you get a monsterous tasty sandwich on fresh baked crunchy bread. Every ingredient was sliced fresh onto the sandwich and the cold cuts were top notch. EVERYTHING else in the store looked AWESOME so let me say I will be back ... I just worry that this place will not be able to stay in business because the taste buds of the people in this town are sooo bad that they will not appreciate what they truly have here. People... it's about time Bostonians stopped making Subway the most popular lunch spot in town !!

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  1. Bob MacAdoo RE: Wheels1 Dec 28, 2010 08:47 AM

    http://casarazdora.com/ ... the menu looks pretty good...

    1. Bob Dobalina RE: Wheels1 Dec 28, 2010 08:53 AM

      Something is going on down on Water Street - Pavia also opened up there a few months ago - I am digging their calzones - lots of different varieties for ~$5 - it's a deal.

      Will definitely check out Casa Razdora too.

      -----
      Water Street Cafe
      25 Water St, Plymouth, MA 02360

      3 Replies
      1. re: Bob Dobalina
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        Kinopio RE: Bob Dobalina Dec 28, 2010 09:08 AM

        The Globe had an article about the new restaurants on Water Street recently.

        http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/d...

        Its hard for me to go in that direction and not eat at Boston Kebab House since its so good. Eating the lunch I got there today as we speak. Bummed they did away with the All You Can Fit Into a Container deal.

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        Boston Kebab House
        7 Liberty Sq, Boston, MA 02109

        1. re: Kinopio
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          tysonmcneely RE: Kinopio Dec 28, 2010 10:23 AM

          Lame. When did they get rid of the all you fit meze bar?

          1. re: tysonmcneely
            k
            Kinopio RE: tysonmcneely Dec 29, 2010 10:20 AM

            I think it was the beginning of December.

      2. nsenada RE: Wheels1 Dec 28, 2010 09:17 AM

        That does look really good - I'm going to have to hit it soon. One of my colleagues was sad to see Sam and Anne's go, she said their mac and cheese was excellent. I went to Pavia once for a sandwich, and wasn't blown away. I also chuckled at their signage, which is a blatant Viga ripoff (I'm surprised they haven't been sued for trade dress infringement, or something).

        4 Replies
        1. re: nsenada
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          9lives RE: nsenada Dec 28, 2010 10:49 AM

          I used to go to Sam and Annes quite a bit; but moved to another building in the FD..with the Paces on the ground floor. This sounds like definite contender for my biz when Pace closes.

          1. re: nsenada
            j
            jdoc RE: nsenada Dec 28, 2010 06:52 PM

            thought i read somewhere that Pavia is actually owned by same people as Viga. I actually like their food -- good chciken parm sandwich and some of their special pastas. A nice addition to the area.

            1. re: jdoc
              nsenada RE: jdoc Dec 28, 2010 06:56 PM

              That's a relief - now I feel better about giving it another try.

              1. re: jdoc
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                tysonmcneely RE: jdoc Dec 29, 2010 06:09 AM

                I don't believe this is true. I forgot the exact details of the story, but my friend, who is a manager at one of the Vigas, told me. The owner of Pavia was either a partial owner of Viga or a manager at a Viga (i forget which one) and then went out and started Pavia.... with the same menu as Viga, and just renamed the items. I believe Viga is looking into their legal options at this point. When I see my friend again, I will be sure to clarify the details of this.

                That being said, from what little I heard of them, it seems Pavia might be a little better than Viga...

            2. s
              scotty27 RE: Wheels1 Dec 28, 2010 11:25 AM

              This looks really interesting. Speaking of NYC, is it as good as Faicco? (In Boston since '82 by way of NJ & East NY-Brooklyn.) I had a funny experience at Faicco. Bought a great chicken parm sub; counter guy was from East Boston. "How come there's nothing like this in Boston?" Make that 99.5%, dude.
              www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

              1. dmullin699 RE: Wheels1 Dec 28, 2010 06:39 PM

                Sam Scola's Deli had a place in the Financial District for a bit. Nowhere near as good as the original in the North End. I have heard that there is a Seaport location, but have not been there as yet.
                In the North End location, you could smell the sharp provolone from two blocks away.
                The Charlestown was an Italian on a braided roll with potatoes and eggs.....you had to find a place to nap within 20 minutes of eating, but it was worth it.

                -----
                Scola's Restaurant
                101 Broadway Rd Ste 6, Dracut, MA 01826

                2 Replies
                1. re: dmullin699
                  nsenada RE: dmullin699 Dec 28, 2010 06:51 PM

                  I remember that place - I think it was on North Street. Loved that potato egg sandwich.

                  1. re: nsenada
                    CocoDan RE: nsenada Dec 29, 2010 05:10 AM

                    I was hoping no one would bring up the potato and egg from Sam Scola's. Now I have to go get one. OY! Are the ever delicious!!!
                    Enjoy,
                    CocoDan

                    P.S. I'll be on my way there in about a half an hour.

                2. Dave MP RE: Wheels1 Dec 28, 2010 08:04 PM

                  Thanks for the tip, Wheels1, but c'mon, our tastebuds aren't THAT bad. Also, the financial district may not be the best place to find an Italian sub, but there are some pretty awesome ones elsewhere in Boston.

                  41 Replies
                  1. re: Dave MP
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                    stomachofsteel RE: Dave MP Dec 29, 2010 04:15 AM

                    Agreed. I work in the FD and understand that the area has some pretty mediocre food. I am also married to someone from NJ and am forever hearing how you can't get good Italian subs around here. In other words, I get what you're saying, Wheels1, and I'll definitely be checking this place out, but are the Boston digs really necessary to make your point? We're here to help each other find great food in the area. Calling 99% of it "average at best" seems a bit harsh, and it helps no one.

                    1. re: stomachofsteel
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                      scotty27 RE: stomachofsteel Dec 29, 2010 04:34 AM

                      You're right S of S: No more comparisons. Let's just say: The more hoagies (south Jersey) and submarines (North Jersey), the better!
                      www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

                      1. re: scotty27
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                        stomachofsteel RE: scotty27 Dec 29, 2010 04:49 AM

                        That is something I can agree with!

                        1. re: scotty27
                          barleywino RE: scotty27 Dec 29, 2010 05:01 AM

                          growing up in north jersey, giant Italian subs were our special-occasion treat...miss them!

                          1. re: scotty27
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                            Carty RE: scotty27 Jan 2, 2011 02:13 PM

                            South Jersey = "South Philadelphia with grass"

                          2. re: stomachofsteel
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                            pasuga RE: stomachofsteel Dec 30, 2010 04:44 PM

                            I'm from Central NJ - my family were Aljon's addicts. Try the Italian sub at Croissant du Jour in the Park Square building. Haven't eaten there since I stopped working in the neighborhood a couple years ago, but they used to be awesome - fresh ciabatta bread and great cold cuts. In the summer they grow their own tomatoes.

                            1. re: pasuga
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                              scotty27 RE: pasuga Dec 31, 2010 03:29 AM

                              Go Plainfield!

                              1. re: pasuga
                                Alcachofa RE: pasuga Jan 1, 2011 07:20 AM

                                Aljons #2 please.

                                1. re: Alcachofa
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                                  scotty27 RE: Alcachofa Jan 1, 2011 07:23 AM

                                  Huh?

                                  1. re: scotty27
                                    Alcachofa RE: scotty27 Jan 1, 2011 04:02 PM

                                    That was a response to pasuga.

                                    1. re: Alcachofa
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                                      pasuga RE: Alcachofa Jan 12, 2011 06:04 PM

                                      Thanks for recognizing/remembering the awesomeness of Aljon's hoagies. I never heard them called "subs" until I moved up here to Boston in '84. <g>

                            2. re: Dave MP
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                              BJK RE: Dave MP Dec 29, 2010 05:24 AM

                              I'm willing to stick my neck out and state without reservation that Monica's Salumeria on Salem Street in the North End makes the best Italian I've ever had. Anywhere. Period. Unqualified. Go. You will thank me.

                              1. re: BJK
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                                scotty27 RE: BJK Dec 29, 2010 05:43 AM

                                I am so in re Monica's. I'll try it. Now here's something that blows Jersey outa the water: I know it's not subs, but it is Italian: Galleria Umberto. Ralph & Paul are the the Keith & MIck of Sicilian slices. Best in the USA.
                                www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

                                1. re: scotty27
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                                  Wheels1 RE: scotty27 Dec 29, 2010 06:28 AM

                                  Galleria Umberto Sicilian is good ...but in no way "blows anything out of the water" except its local competition ... I will take you up on the Monica's recommendation , but if you notice the title of my post its is best ever in Financial District .. I can't stroll over to the North End for lunch since I eat at my desk , but when I have time I look forward to trying it.

                                  1. re: Wheels1
                                    Alcachofa RE: Wheels1 Dec 29, 2010 06:37 AM

                                    By way of comparison, have you been to Al's State Street?

                                    -----
                                    Al's State Street Cafe
                                    110 State St, Boston, MA 02109

                                    1. re: Alcachofa
                                      j
                                      janzy RE: Alcachofa Dec 29, 2010 06:55 AM

                                      I'll second Al's Sate Street.
                                      They have a place on South Street also.
                                      CocoDan, make your way over to Scola's on Black Falcon Pier for one of those great Charlestown's.

                                      1. re: janzy
                                        CocoDan RE: janzy Dec 29, 2010 09:59 AM

                                        I usually reserve the Black Falcon location for the warmer months, or when I'm at the Boston Design Center. I like the original on North St. I think they call the Charlestown, "The Northender" at that location. I don't care what they call it as long as I'm eating it. I almost always get the straight potato and egg.
                                        Enjoy,
                                        CocoDan

                                    2. re: Wheels1
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                                      scotty27 RE: Wheels1 Dec 29, 2010 06:48 AM

                                      I'm talking Sicilian slices.
                                      Where have you had better? Lattanza's? Veloce?
                                      www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

                                      1. re: scotty27
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                                        Wheels1 RE: scotty27 Dec 29, 2010 07:07 AM

                                        your comment was "best in the USA " ... i have had many Sicilian slices in the NY Tri-state area that were better ... Galleria is by far the best sicilian in Boston ... as far as Al's State Street -- sandwiches there are very good on the "local" scale .. but i tell you right now if you are in the mood for Italian food ( and can't walk to the North End ) Casa Razdora is THE spot till further notice.

                                        1. re: Wheels1
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                                          scotty27 RE: Wheels1 Dec 29, 2010 07:11 AM

                                          I am going to Casa Razdora subito.
                                          Where in NJ and NYC were the Sicilian slices better? Like I said, I like Lattanza's and Veloce a great deal. Maybe it's the vibe at Galleria Umberto that's so, um, cheesy as to add something to the taste of the food. Dunno.
                                          www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

                                      2. re: Wheels1
                                        nsenada RE: Wheels1 Dec 29, 2010 07:09 AM

                                        Right - I noted the FD limitation, and assumed you didn't include NE spots. I will need to try Broad Street Paulie's Italian - they slice everything fresh, and their sub rolls are amazing. Their Gobbler is one of my faves in the area. I never got an Italian from Pace in the FD, but I'm sure they can't be that far off the NE in quality, meaning, amazingly good, though apparently time is running out for that location.

                                        I thought I saw a sign for a new sub joint right next to Bostone in Liberty Square, or is that Razdora? Thought it was called "Boston Sub and Hoagie" or some such thing?

                                        1. re: nsenada
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                                          Wheels1 RE: nsenada Dec 29, 2010 07:13 AM

                                          went to Beantown Hoagie last week ... decent sandwich , a little on the small side... lots of chioices ... they do use Boar's Head cold cuts which are top notch ... Cafe Razdora is across the street right next to the Vault ... fyi ... I heard today is J. Pace's last day.

                                          1. re: nsenada
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                                            9lives RE: nsenada Dec 29, 2010 08:27 AM

                                            The place next to Bostone is Pavia; the Viga knockoff. Razdora is across the street and a few storefronts East..towards the water.

                                            I had a proscuitto, soprasetta, tomato and roasted pepper sandwich today. It was a very good sandwich..Italian proscuitto sliced to order. Paces preslices Canadian in their sandwiches..sell both in the NE. If I have a quibble, I'd like a better bread. Theirs was just out of the oven and didn't hold up well to the ingredients. Hot Tomatoes and Viga use a better bread.

                                            As to their ability to stay in business, I don't think it will be a product of Bostonians taste buds. Rather, they're not yet set up to handle a crowd..hand slicing everything is great for the (early) customer but I could see long lines developing around noon and do they have the capacity to do catering like a SLG or Viga..or even Max's..which I don't care for but our office uses them a lot. I don't think I've spent a penny of my own there.

                                            It's a very good "hand crafted" sandwich served by nice people. The closest comparison in town I can think of is Fresh Cheese on Fleet.

                                            I get my FD Italian cold cut subs at Pace and hot sandwiches at Viga usually, so I can't really address whether Casa Razdora is the "best" and maybe the bread was too soon out of the oven; but I'll be back.

                                            BTW, I don't agree that Boar's Head is top notch..and took it as a good reason to avoid Beantown Hoagie. It's used in a great many of the mediocre NYC delis in midtown and the FD. I'd rather go to a place that roasts their own turkey or beef of which there are a handful in the Boston FD.

                                            -----
                                            Fresh Cheese
                                            81 Endicott St, Boston, MA 02113

                                            Hot Tomatoes
                                            261 North St, Boston, MA 02113

                                            1. re: 9lives
                                              nsenada RE: 9lives Dec 29, 2010 09:21 AM

                                              Agreed on the Boar's Head - to me, that's one step up from boasting about using "only Kraft cheese." The hand slicing is a killer, time -wise, but I had an Italian today, and it was excellent, as all have reported. I actually liked the bread, which did appear home baked. It was definitely not from one of the "big" producers in the area.

                                              I had wanted some form of pizza-type thing that had mushroom egg and cheese in it, but they didn't have it. While I was there I overheard the guy at the slicer say that they had four people in there yesterday, and didn't know why they were getting slammed today. A customer told him that someone on chowhound said that they had the best Italian sub in the FD.

                                              I looks forward to trying some of their other offerings, it definitely feels like you're in the North End there. Hopefully they will be able to handle the crowds.

                                              1. re: nsenada
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                                                ajmoose RE: nsenada Dec 29, 2010 10:52 AM

                                                hey, i was "that customer" !! Damn good Italiano, and just in time to replace Pace. Pizza was excellent, and my daughter thought the pasta was pretty good too. people behind the counter were super nice too... we'll be regulars. so few really good options in this area with any variety at all.

                                                1. re: ajmoose
                                                  nsenada RE: ajmoose Dec 29, 2010 02:39 PM

                                                  Hah! Chowhounds are everywhere. I almost got a pasta dish - next time I will.

                                              2. re: 9lives
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                                                9lives RE: 9lives Dec 29, 2010 10:41 AM

                                                I had the locations mixed. Pazios is off Congress. Beantown Hoagie is next to Bostone.

                                                Probably 15 people in there around 12:45. I needed to do an errand and walked by.

                                            2. re: Wheels1
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                                              BJK RE: Wheels1 Dec 29, 2010 07:46 AM

                                              Yup, I noticed. Long walk, certainly, but worth it. ;)

                                              For advanced warning:

                                              1. They slice every meat, cheese, and condiment to order, so it takes a while to make a sandwich.
                                              2. There are usually only 2 guys working there, so even a line of 4 or 5 people in front of you can mean a 20 minute wait for a sandwich. Best to call your order in ahead of time.
                                              3. There's no menu. If you want to order something else, you're just going to have to ask what else they have.
                                              4. They ain't cheap. $9.99 for a large, and $6.99 for a small. The small is PLENTY of food, but if you get the large, you'll eat it all anyway. And it's worth every penny.

                                              Let me know how you like it. We moved into my new office by North Station in June and I've probably had one of their Italian's at least once a month since then. Even did it on back-to-back days once.

                                              :)
                                              BK

                                              1. re: BJK
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                                                Wheels1 RE: BJK Dec 29, 2010 08:50 AM

                                                1) TRUE
                                                2) TRUE , but with success you can hire people and buy a slicer .. too much business is never a career ender
                                                3) FALSE , they have a website, laminated and printed menus right there in the store
                                                4) TRUE, but I am looking at the menu and all the sandwiches are 8 bucks and under ( and they are all large) ... definitely worth every penny
                                                I went back today and had the chicken stuffed with prosciutto/cheese and sage with roasted potatoes and stuffed zucchini ... 8.95 for a dish that is easily 15+ in the North End ... so value is relative

                                                1. re: Wheels1
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                                                  tysonmcneely RE: Wheels1 Dec 29, 2010 10:28 AM

                                                  Took me a minute to get it, but I'm pretty sure BJK is referring to Monica's not Casa Razdora. (Only 2 ppl working there, long lines, no menu, the prices, been going there once a month..)

                                                  1. re: tysonmcneely
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                                                    BJK RE: tysonmcneely Dec 29, 2010 10:46 AM

                                                    Correct. I was talking about Monica's.

                                                    Sorry. Conversation threading on Chowhound can get a little funky.

                                                    1. re: BJK
                                                      Beachowolfe RE: BJK Dec 29, 2010 01:52 PM

                                                      They will make you whatever you want a Monica's. But it's not really a sandwich shop as much as it is a market. They do have the best Italian in the city. I've said this before and had several people try and say that Pace was better. It is not.

                                                      I think Lambert's makes a good, sliced to order sub, albeit w/ Boar's Head for most of their meats. I think they do roast some of their own, but not positive. They certainly have the slice to order method down as there is never much of a wait there.

                                                      1. re: BJK
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                                                        bear RE: BJK Jan 6, 2011 02:42 PM

                                                        So, BJK, your post prompted me to finally head to Monica's last night. Three of us got Italians, and boy were they good. Excellent meats, and that bread was terrific. They were put together with such care, too. Service couldn't have been friendlier, and the guy making the sandwiches obviously takes a lot of pride in the ingredients and is very warm and friendly.

                                                        I asked him what he could do for my vegetarian son, and he made a dellicious grilled vegetable sandwich. Loaded with perfectly cooked veggies in an excellent vinaigrette with good cheese on top.

                                                        I'd say the style of the sandwich is more Italian than Italian-American, just to be clear. Right now it's my favorite Italian, though. Can't wait to try it again, and to grab some of that pasta.

                                                        1. re: bear
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                                                          BJK RE: bear Jan 6, 2011 05:35 PM

                                                          Awesome. Glad you guys enjoyed them. I'm overdue for one myself. Been too cold to walk there the past few days.

                                                          FWIW, one afternoon when a few of us were ordering Italians, one of my colleagues order a prosciutto, tomato and buffalo mozzarella sandwich which was also pronounced delicious.

                                                          There were also a couple of young women in front of us ordering "salads" which, from what I could tell, were basically a small container of greens or veg of some sort to which the guys behind the counter were adding various antipasti from the deli case as they were selected by the customers (e.g. "I'll have some of those roasted peppers, and some of those olives stuffed with gorgonzola, and some of those marinated artichokes..."). Not really sure that's how it works but that was the impression I got.

                                            3. re: BJK
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                                              pasuga RE: BJK Dec 30, 2010 04:45 PM

                                              Do they still sell their wonderful home-made sauces?

                                              1. re: pasuga
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                                                BJK RE: pasuga Dec 31, 2010 05:05 AM

                                                Yup, and homemade pasta, too. I've heard good things but haven't tried either yet myself.

                                                1. re: BJK
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                                                  9lives RE: BJK Jan 1, 2011 09:31 AM

                                                  They make the pasta at the restaurant ..catty corner across from them and it's very good.

                                                  AS I said earlier, I've been pleased with everything I bought there...so anxious to try a sandwich.

                                                  They also usually have a cheese..robiola rossa which is fantastic. It comes in maybe an 8oz "brick." I don't know how rare it is but I haven't seen it in too many places.

                                                  1. re: 9lives
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                                                    BJK RE: 9lives Jan 1, 2011 10:35 AM

                                                    Yeah, they make the bread for the sandwiches there, too.

                                                    And robiola is great stuff. I buy it at Whole Foods when it's on sale.

                                                    1. re: BJK
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                                                      9lives RE: BJK Jan 1, 2011 10:45 AM

                                                      Try the rossa if you see it. It's like Robiola Squared. When it goes on sale, it usually means it's very ripe or just ready or over the hill..depending on your tastes..:) I prefer it ripe.

                                              2. re: BJK
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                                                Gabatta RE: BJK Jan 3, 2011 10:51 AM

                                                Generally I shy away from the posts which make absolute (hands down) type statements, however I've got to agree with BJK on this one. Monica's makes an incredible italian. All the flavors and proportions work perfectly together. The roll is ideal and contains the sandwich without overwhelming it. You can travel with that baby without having it soggy when you get to the office or back home. As another poster pointed out, the thin slicing (of the quality ingredients) really makes a difference. The sharp provolone is really perfect, the hots aren't too hot and oh yes they have perfect tomatoes even now.

                                                The only version I have found which I enjoy as much is Coppa's. However that is available in a much different setting. Monica's is a more complete and traditional version to me though.

                                                1. re: Gabatta
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                                                  phatchris RE: Gabatta Jan 6, 2011 01:38 PM

                                                  I can't comment on Monica's but give New Deal in Revere a shot if your ever in the area and ask for the top shelf Italian.

                                            4. lipoff RE: Wheels1 Dec 29, 2010 07:46 AM

                                              I'm glad that there's another good option in the Financial District. But perhaps your sense of Boston's food is warped by spending time around the Financial District. I mean, try eating well in Times Square, or other high-rent districts with captive populations. Boston easily trumps NYC in large categories of food, such as Chinese, Portugese, and Thai. Boston may not have the breadth of New York in some categories, but I've lived here for more than 25 years and haven't run out of places to eat yet.

                                              8 Replies
                                              1. re: lipoff
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                                                Wheels1 RE: lipoff Dec 29, 2010 08:42 AM

                                                Chinatown excluded ...there is NOT ONE good Chinese restaurant in the FD...except for Billy Tse's which is more NE than FD ... are u kidding CHINESE .. NY and SF have the best Chinese in the USA

                                                1. re: Wheels1
                                                  lipoff RE: Wheels1 Dec 29, 2010 09:31 AM

                                                  No, no, I totally agree that the Financial District is generally a food-wasteland and I'm glad that you pointed out a good sandwich in that area.

                                                  I'm talking about the Boston area more generally, which easily has better authentic Chinese food than New York. It is simply untrue any longer that NY and SF have the best Chinese food in the United States. The San Francisco area has some fine Cantonese food, but the expectation for Cantonese style has severely hindered the development of other styles in the area. New York's Chinese food is a complete disaster, occaisoned by the razor-thin margins required to compete price-wise in a Chinatown full of recent, poor immigrants, and the stunted taste buds of midtowners used to Americanized dreck. Boston, by contrast, has a large professional mainland Chinese population, attracted by the universities and technology companies, and thus has an amazing variety of authentic Chinese restaurants from a variety of regions. If you like Billy Tse's, there's nothing I can do to help you.

                                                  -----
                                                  Billy Tse's
                                                  240 Commercial St Lbby 1, Boston, MA 02109

                                                  1. re: Wheels1
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                                                    scotty27 RE: Wheels1 Dec 29, 2010 01:22 PM

                                                    Sichuan Garden, CK's Shanghai, Shangri-La, New Shanghai: All comparable to Chinese in cities noted. That is, if you must eat Chinese food.
                                                    www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

                                                    -----
                                                    Shangri-La
                                                    149 Belmont St, Belmont, MA 02478

                                                    New Shanghai Restaurant
                                                    21 Hudson St, Boston, MA 02111

                                                    Sichuan Garden
                                                    295 Washington St, Brookline, MA 02445

                                                    1. re: scotty27
                                                      MC Slim JB RE: scotty27 Dec 30, 2010 06:34 AM

                                                      I can remember a time when Sau brought it in his days in Chinatown, but CK Shanghai does not deserve a mention among the best Chinese restaurants in the Boston area. Middling suburban American-Chinese food in a fancy wrapper. Christ, the dude has crab rangoon on his menu. (Admittedly, he knows his customers.)

                                                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB
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                                                        scotty27 RE: MC Slim JB Dec 30, 2010 01:40 PM

                                                        You're right about the menu and you shouldn't have to ask a chef to cook off the menu to get good food, but when you do at CK's, his depth and range are amazing. The quality and cost of his ingredients surpasses competitors; he wouldn't last in Wellesley if he didn't pony up.
                                                        www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

                                                        1. re: scotty27
                                                          tatsu RE: scotty27 Dec 30, 2010 02:35 PM

                                                          lipoff called ahead for Sau's "game" but the results were so desultory that I personally would not give it another chance. He posted pictures, really sad. I'm not going to even dig up the post because I'll just be depressed.

                                                          I agree with lipoff in his assessment of Chinese food here, very healthy range of options and quality. Flushing NY may have some specialties we don't, but a lot of it is in food stall atmosphere, very vibrant, but very "street". I had some fantastic meals with tablecloth in Toronto's Chinatown, but it's mostly Cantonese, which is sort of the other end of the spectrum.

                                                          Generally, Chinese foods are rapidly spreading all over the place, as mainlanders come here in droves. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised to eat good Chinese in Nebraska.

                                                          I would love to see more ambitious higher end dining options in the future, to better represent the highly trained, technical and complex food that can be Chinese cuisine.

                                                          1. re: tatsu
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                                                            scotty27 RE: tatsu Dec 30, 2010 02:45 PM

                                                            I agree with you. Ruth Reichl, years ago, bemoaned the fact that the beautiful and pricey Chinese food found in, say, Hong Kong has never made it here. I was interviewed for that piece that ran in The NYT. Drew Nieporent also wondered why he can't open an upscale Chinese place in NYC. One theory runs that having eaten the greasy stuff and also the take out that people won't drop the bucks for the real thing. It's one reason why many Japanese restaurants are, in fact, owned by Chinese families: People will pay more for Japanese food.

                                                            That said, Sichuan Gourmet, for Sichuan dishes, is pretty darn delicious.

                                                            Personally? I think, again, that you're right. One reason I eat Chinese out at most 3-4x a year.

                                                            www.shrinkinthekitchen.com

                                                            -----
                                                            Sichuan Gourmet
                                                            1004 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

                                                          2. re: scotty27
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                                                            9lives RE: scotty27 Dec 30, 2010 04:36 PM

                                                            I don't see anything wrong with ordering off menu; if that's what's needed to get the best meal possible. That's what a board like this is good for..not just where to go but what to order.

                                                            I haven't had that experience with CK Sau. never been to Wellesly. his tenure at New Shanghai was uninspired to me.

                                                            Not a perfect example, but a group of us went to a nondescript place in Chinatown.Ordinary menu. Fortunately we had a Cantonese speaker and we just said you order...from the strips on the wall....no one left unhappy.

                                                            http://www.flickr.com/photos/61246842...

                                                            Don't go there because they've turned into a very mediocre lunch buffet; but it shined thst night. 1 of our guys spoke the magic words.

                                                            -----
                                                            New Shanghai Restaurant
                                                            21 Hudson St, Boston, MA 02111

                                                  2. p
                                                    phatchris RE: Wheels1 Dec 29, 2010 08:54 AM

                                                    Lettuce on an Italian?

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: phatchris
                                                      Allstonian RE: phatchris Dec 30, 2010 07:40 AM

                                                      I wondered about that myself...

                                                      1. re: Allstonian
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                                                        9lives RE: Allstonian Dec 30, 2010 02:29 PM

                                                        I'm not a fan of lettuce on any Italian cold cut sandwich...and it's a discussion we've had on the board before.

                                                        If someone wants lettuce on their sandwich, what business is it of mine? Please don't put it on my sandwich..:)

                                                      2. re: phatchris
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                                                        misscucina RE: phatchris Dec 30, 2010 02:09 PM

                                                        This is one of the "atrocities" I mentioned. I ordered mine 'everything, extra hots, no lettuce' and they were perfectly accommodating. They use sliced green cherry peppers for hots, not the red paste you usually see on an Italian. Not bad, but makes for uneven hotness per bite.

                                                      3. d
                                                        devilham RE: Wheels1 Dec 29, 2010 09:10 AM

                                                        As has been said in other posts, there are some decent italian subs elsewhere in Boston, and near if not in the FD, but do have to agree that this sub was exceptional. Some points of interest about the italian:

                                                        1. The meat is sliced remarkably thin, this is key, but also sadly rare...these guys do it amazingly well.
                                                        2. The vegetables (onions and tomatoe to be specific, and the lettuce to) are also cut very thin, which worked really well I thought.
                                                        3. They baked my roll from scratch, and it was outstanding!

                                                        All in all it was a very good sandwich, even though it came to $9.35 with a drink, I stll felt I got a great value due to the high quality.

                                                        1. t
                                                          tysonmcneely RE: Wheels1 Dec 29, 2010 10:40 AM

                                                          Like a lot of other people, I went to Casa Razdora today based on this thread. Funny Story, when I was in there waiting for my sandwich, the lady at the counter brought up this exact thread on the computer by the register and read the headline with great pride. The 2 other guys in the kitchen had a chuckle. I wanted to comment on it, but figured I wouldn't since I would be posting here about the sandwich later.

                                                          I had the Prosciutto di parma sandwich (prosciutto, mozz, tomato, basil) and every ingredient was very high quality. (well maybe except the tomato, which wasn't quite ripe, but whatever, it's winter.) There was a solid amount of prosciutto, and the bread was very good, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. It was hand sliced, but there was no line, so I got mine quickly. Although I could see a line forming if this place got popular. The only possible down side I see, is if they can maintain their vision of supplying us with high quality italian ingredients, of if in the future it will change into, pumping customers in as quickly as possible to maximize profits.

                                                          Anyway, Wheels1, thanks for bring this place to our attention. The only thing I would suggest in the future is restraining from your "all or nothing" style of writing which makes it seem like you are less than objective. Great sandwich, I will report more when I try out their pasta.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: tysonmcneely
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                                                            misscucina RE: tysonmcneely Dec 29, 2010 02:31 PM

                                                            I also went there today based on this thread. I had an Italian and it was very good. Thinly-sliced to order, nicely assembled sandwich and no one asked me if I wanted "mayo" or other atrocities like putting American ham in an Italian. Very tasty and a good size for $6.75. I will return. Better quality cold cuts and the bread is comparable to the "Italian Cafe" around the corner on Broad/Milk St. This place will be competition for those guys.

                                                            The line was long but only because there was one guy making sandwiches, one woman taking orders and ringing people up and another guy cooking. They really need another body in there from 11:30 to 1:30.

                                                          2. Bob Dobalina RE: Wheels1 Dec 30, 2010 08:54 AM

                                                            Apparently we are all heading over there thanks to this thread, to the extent that they are now pre-making the Italian subs at lunchtime. So, thanks...sort of.

                                                            The sandwich has very good lunchmeat, but why dress it up with crappy pale tomatoes and gobs of shredded lettuce? Would have preferred a couple of nice pieces of lettuce over the shred.

                                                            The roll I got was a little underdone, soft and ok - on par with Al's - just ok.

                                                            Overall, a tasty sandwich, for the Financial District. Does not compare to Bob's in Medford for example...the seeded roll there is much better.

                                                            15 Replies
                                                            1. re: Bob Dobalina
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                                                              Wheels1 RE: Bob Dobalina Dec 30, 2010 09:10 AM

                                                              Bob's looks very good ... dont get to Medford that often ... but if the pics on the website do it any justice I am adding it to my to-do list ...and dont penalize me for trying to share the wealth . Next time I will keep it to myself and you can go to Foumami - Asian Sandwich Bar -- GROSS and EXPENSIVE ( for what u get ).

                                                              1. re: Wheels1
                                                                Bob Dobalina RE: Wheels1 Dec 30, 2010 09:14 AM

                                                                Ha - yeah, was just kidding about that - keep the recs coming!

                                                                1. re: Bob Dobalina
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                                                                  Salami hands RE: Bob Dobalina Dec 30, 2010 02:31 PM

                                                                  Regarding the italian, pre made , and the pale tomato, if you want one that is made to order, just ask I m sure that they will do it , as for the tomato it is winter ,and as for Bobs I grew up in Medford and its nothing to get excited about , got a prosciutto sandwich there and they cut so thick you could make a pair sandals with it. and its over priced.

                                                                  1. re: Salami hands
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                                                                    BJK RE: Salami hands Dec 31, 2010 05:14 AM

                                                                    Gotta disagree with you re: Bob's in Medford. I've spent the better part of 15 years of my adult life living in Medford and frequenting Bob's probably once a week in that time. My favorite sandwiches include the chicken parm, steak and cheese, and the steak tip.

                                                                    My very favorite is the deluxe Italian. Prosciutto, sopressata, mortadella, provolone. I like it topped simply with lettuce, tomato, oil and seasoning, letting the top notch meats take center stage. And in having eaten that sandwich probably 100 times (and throwing in a dozen or so prosciutto, tomato and buffalo mozzarella sandwiches for good measure), I've never once had anything less than expertly prepared, thin sliced prosciutto on my sandwich.

                                                                    Bob's isn't perfect, as I've pointed out numerous times in other threads, sometimes to the dismay of other hounds, but it is among the best sub shops in the Boston area.

                                                                    And yet, still, the Italian at Monica's Salumeria on Salem Street in the North End is even better.

                                                                    :)

                                                                    1. re: BJK
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                                                                      9lives RE: BJK Dec 31, 2010 05:19 AM

                                                                      I've got to try this Monica's sandwich. I've shopped there many times and always been more than pleased but never thought to try a sandwich.

                                                                      I thought Bob's was great but it's not that easy for me to get to.

                                                                      Have you been to Fresh Cheese on Fleet? It was on Endicott and owned by the so called Cheeseman. who's now in prison. He uses great ingredients too and I like the bread he uses.

                                                                      1. re: 9lives
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                                                                        BJK RE: 9lives Dec 31, 2010 11:14 AM

                                                                        I did check out the cheese place one day this summer. We went down to Endicott Street in search of what Yelp lists as "Purity Cheese" and found a sign there directing us to Fleet. We went after lunch specifically to bring home some fresh mozzarella, and when we were there noticed the sandwich menu on the wall. Good reminder to head back there for lunch someday.

                                                                        1. re: 9lives
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                                                                          Northender RE: 9lives Jan 1, 2011 05:51 AM

                                                                          9lives, I must confess that although I am a long time North End resident, I have never been too keen on Italian subs and had never been to Monica's. that all changed yesterday, when after reading this thread, I had one made to order and it was un@#&7 beleiveably good. thin sliced, high quality cold cuts(great prosciutto) and terrific sub roll. Ordered a large one but small would have been more than adequate.

                                                                          1. re: Northender
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                                                                            BJK RE: Northender Jan 1, 2011 10:36 AM

                                                                            Glad you liked it! Really exceptional ingredients from top to bottom, applied judiciously. Damn I love that sandwich.

                                                                      2. re: Salami hands
                                                                        Bob Dobalina RE: Salami hands Dec 31, 2010 06:31 AM

                                                                        My point about the tomatoes is if you can't get decent tomatoes, don't serve them. I have seen decent greenhouse tomatoes in December at Russo's for example, but they are more expensive this time of year, of course. So they are buying cheap pale unripe tomatoes, which was my complaint - such delicious thinly sliced mortadella et al. deserves better.

                                                                        Not complaining really about the pre-made sandwiches - just had to laugh that this is how they responded to the influx of customers from this thread - rather than pre-make a sub, I like the Al's formula of pre-slicing and assembling the meats and cheeses. That way the customer can adjust toppings, etc.

                                                                        And feel special !

                                                                        1. re: Bob Dobalina
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                                                                          Wheels1 RE: Bob Dobalina Dec 31, 2010 06:41 AM

                                                                          its not like the tomatoes were rotten ... and i doubt they went out of their way to buy cheap tomatoes if all the other items are such good quality...they are sliced so thinly they add a hint of flavor ...as it should be..
                                                                          and for u lettuce people ...jeez the lettuce is fine on an italian sandwich . If you dont like it omit it ...
                                                                          Someone asked for mayo on theirs while i was there yesterday ... while I would NEVER put mayo on an Italian...that was fine with me "saussige his own" .. for the record I would never put mustard on roast beef or turkey ...strictly mayo..

                                                                          1. re: Wheels1
                                                                            Bob Dobalina RE: Wheels1 Dec 31, 2010 07:01 AM

                                                                            I didn't get that chance - it was pre-made! Lolz...

                                                                            1. re: Bob Dobalina
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                                                                              Salami hands RE: Bob Dobalina Dec 31, 2010 12:02 PM

                                                                              again just ask for one that is not pre made im sure they ll take care of it..

                                                                            2. re: Wheels1
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                                                                              9lives RE: Wheels1 Dec 31, 2010 07:11 AM

                                                                              Anyone who puts mayo on an Italian sub should be beaten within an inch of their life...:)

                                                                              Just kidding, barely. It's your sandwich and have it your way..but....it does remind me of an Clint Eastwwod movie re ketchup on hot dogs..:)

                                                                              http://www.hark.com/clips/qvkmqgnyhm-...

                                                                            3. re: Bob Dobalina
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                                                                              9lives RE: Bob Dobalina Dec 31, 2010 06:53 AM

                                                                              No quarrel with me. Out of season tomatoes may be better or worse than no tomato.

                                                                              I order out of habit, but maybe that has to be revisited. I know some of the NE delis may grow their own.

                                                                              Razdora made a very good sandwich;but maybe better without subpar tomatos.Aboutthe same as any other deli/restaurant..rarely very good at this time of year.

                                                                              eta..Most Mexican places would be forced to shut down because of our short tomato season..or serve subpar tomatos in their salsas, as all do.

                                                                              OT,but the BLT has been elevated by premium bacon, bread and freshnlocal/garden grown tomatoes.

                                                                              1. re: Bob Dobalina
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                                                                                Salami hands RE: Bob Dobalina Jan 1, 2011 04:00 AM

                                                                                RE: " AL's formula" that works fine if you want rather thick silced coldcuts, but try that w/ lets say prosciutto , not so good or any thin sliced meat.. just my 2 cents... happy new year

                                                                      3. 9
                                                                        9lives RE: Wheels1 Jan 12, 2011 06:55 AM

                                                                        Another winner at Casa Razdora. Proscuitto and mozz./basil. This time the roll was better..had a lttle time to rest instead of straight from the oven. I was there about 11:30 and it was made to order. Another customer raved about the same sandwich on focaccio. next time.

                                                                        There's a pretty extensive menu that clearly needs a lot of sampling. Tough job but someone has to do it..:) My 2 experiences demonstrate clearly higher quality ingredients being used.

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Casa Razdora
                                                                        115 Water St, Boston, MA 02109

                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: 9lives
                                                                          nsenada RE: 9lives Jan 12, 2011 12:54 PM

                                                                          Been meaning to post on some subsequent trips - the lasagna was excellent, had bechamel between the layers rather than "rigot." The bolognese used on it was quite tasty as well, I suspect there may have been a smidge of chicken liver in it. The braised beef special was less good, the meat was flavorless, and the sauce didn't have the appropriate intensity of caramelized beefy flavor. The meat itself seemed like it was probably too lean to begin with. I have also had the plain margherita pizza slice, and the pan pizza. Both were good but didn't blow me away. They were also not very warm, but it looks like they aren't coming straight out of the oven there. I liked the looks of some of the other slices I've seen, though, including one with mortadella.

                                                                          For comparison, I tried another new regular joint, Broad Street Paulie's, and had the Italian. Definitely cheaper, but the cold cuts were thicker, the sub roll was boring, and it comes with pickles and optional mayo. This is technically what goes into an "authentic" Italian, but only if you're in Maine. On the other hand, they had free samples of pan pizza, which were awesome - the closest to Umberto's I have had in the FD. Can't wait until it's a regular offering.

                                                                          1. re: 9lives
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                                                                            southie_chick RE: 9lives Jan 12, 2011 02:41 PM

                                                                            Were you there on the 11th 9? I was the one RAVING about the focaccia. ; ) OK, I'm hooked on this place thanks to my fellow 'hounds - & I'm trying to help you eat thru this menu 9 so here's what I've had so far:
                                                                            Focaccia is GREAT - they make it there & they put pepper on top (insted of the usual salt or rosemary). They actually made my sandwich on a roll that day (instead of the focaccia) & it was way too beautiful to waste so I took it that way. Roll was a lot better than I thought it would be - I was afraid it would be "Tutto Italiano hard' (where you almost break your teeth & the entire office can hear you when you bite into it) but it was good - soft (but not as soft as Al's) but with a little crunch to it. It's more filling on the roll than focaccia, so I'd order the roll if you're feeling a bit more hungry. Plus, focaccia is $1 more too.
                                                                            I've also had the tagliatelle with bolognese - pasta tasted light, like it was from a fresh rather than a dried pasta. Didn't look like much pasta when I opened the container but once I stirred in the sauce, it was a good amount. Bolognese sauce had a great flavor to it too.
                                                                            Tried the pasta (can't remember which one) with white clam sauce (Friday special) & that was good too - the sauce was a little thin so be careful if you're running back to the office with it (some of it leaked out of the container).
                                                                            Dying to try the Monday lasagne special - haven't had a chance yet.

                                                                            1. re: southie_chick
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                                                                              9lives RE: southie_chick Jan 12, 2011 03:15 PM

                                                                              I was there Mon, 1/10..and pretty sure we met. There were only 2 custies(us) and you raved about the focaccio and the pepper on top...mad me regret the plain roll I'd already ordered and they had made.

                                                                              Short bonding amongst 2 people that enjoy good food..:)

                                                                              Let's say hello next time...:)

                                                                              Nice to meet you..:)

                                                                            2. re: 9lives
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                                                                              tysonmcneely RE: 9lives Jan 13, 2011 07:09 AM

                                                                              In addition to the excellent Prosciutto sandwich I've had:

                                                                              Stuffed Turkey breast braised with white wine (Thursday special) - The turkey was nice and moist, the filling was fine, but not great and the sauce over it was pretty good. It came with roasted potatoes (ok) and baked vegetable (A small zucchini piece w/bread crumbs, this was ok as well.)

                                                                              Stuffed pasta w/ ricotta and spinach w/ bolognese sauce (Wed Special) - This wasn't bad, but not much better than anything you could get at Viga.

                                                                              Both dishes were served right out of their steam tray, and could been served hotter. I might try to stay away from the specials menu as my last two experiences where like the temperature they were served at (luke warm). The lasagna sounds great though, so I might have to end up trying that at sometime.

                                                                              1. re: tysonmcneely
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                                                                                Salami hands RE: tysonmcneely Jan 13, 2011 05:01 PM

                                                                                In regards to "luke warm" did you take it out or eat in?{ only freezing outside} As for the the stuffed pasta I had them and I thought they were excellente, I asked what sauce was over them and the really italian guy, said it was bechemelle with a bolognese sauce, and that they were hand made by him,so if your telling me that you know what real homemade italian is I ll listen to you ,but for now I ll stick with the italian,

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