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Mar 2, 2011 10:29 AM

Matt LeBlanc sent me

Recently my wife's company moved to the Silver "Lake" neighborhood of Newton. It's in that hardest to get to part of the Garden City over by Watertown. While the commute leaves a lot to be desired it does have some shops and kitchens worth getting close to. Russo's (produce wonderland) is not far across the Charles. Others nearby include DePasquale's Sausage (super high quality sweet and hot italian links and the basics to cook Italian), Chung Shin Yuan's extraordinary dim sum on the weekend (and hyper ordinary weekdays), Maria di Napoli's real deal osteria (a friend's Nonna is in the cucina) and a certain unassuming sub shop that's been a popular lunch counter since 1958.

Here's the Friends part:

"I love Boston, but it’s tough to get a good sandwich here. Go to Giuseppe’s down in Nonantum. There’s a line out the door at lunchtime." Matt LeBlanc, actor and local son sent me.

Matt "Joey" LeBlanc hails from just round the cahner and has apparently eaten enough of Guiseppe's Subs to reach to Hollywood if put end to end. The star of Showtime's "Episodes" noted "Cheap, too. Well, not as cheap as it was — ". When Matt was a kid they were 85¢ a throw and still a good deal at $4.75 for a substantial small. There are tons of daily specials like chicken parm and pasta but I'd heard the meatball sub and the burger sub w/onions n' gravy were the things to get. Thursday is hot dog day (3/3.75) and on Saturday baked sausage can be had. Chowhounds had recently sighted it as one of the least romantic spots. My better half had scouted the shop and quickly got hers to go when she became somewhat frighted of a toothless homeless guy eating american chop suey. Must've been a Tuesday. Her story goes on to tell how a non verbal non glove wearing proprietor disappeared out back and quick as a creepy wink, returned, sub in a bag proffered. Whisked back to the office she proclaimed it however subalicious! A superior meatball on fresh bread that did not overpower the meaty melty provoloney red saucy spucky. It disintegrated or was otherwise vaporized. Really?

I'd driven by the place untold times and never heard of it or noticed the very plan red brick store front. It seems a little scary like a front for some nefarious activity. So today I descended to see for myself, with a wing man. I was met by a lovely proprietress who knew Le Blanc back when, even had his autographed 8x10 on the wall although she was surprised to hear about his pitch for the place. (Paparazzi note: "He comes in all the time..."). The subs were real. Real good. A sign warns "No Lettuce" in this very local everybody knows your name lunch only type spa. Homemade pickled peppers were choice. Had to get an Italian cold cuts with their pickled veggies. Bingo. Just sayin'. The spartan but neat shop was adorned with bit of sports memorabilia and "Joey's" glossy. The spinning diner style stools reminded me of a thousand lunch counters and breakfast boîtes where I've clanked heavy coffee mugs with the local crowd. While the place was clearly not romantic one CH noted that "even fear is part of romance". I personally love the places that don't change. Maybe bright and clean or otherwise, busy or past their hey day, but firmly mired in the past. Like the White Hut in Springfield. Happy memories of lunch, breakfast and lunchtime repartee, calories, caffeine...harmless old headlines we've solved or survived. They transport me to other decades, and let's face it, the sixties are looking pretty good right about now. Back then I did not know the words cholesterol or triglyceride.

Chung Shin Yuan
183 California St, Newtonville, MA 02458

A. Russo and Sons
Watertown, MA, Watertown, MA

DePasquale's Sausage Co.
325 Watertown St, Newton, MA 02458-1322

Giuseppe's Sub Shop
309 Watertown St, Newtonville, MA 02458

Ristorante Maria Dinapoli
344 Watertown St, Newtonville, MA 02458

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  1. Thanks for the review!
    I thought that Newton village was called Nonantum.
    Like that they omit lettuce - that Italian sub tradition in the area just baffles me.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Bob Dobalina

      Nonantum = Silver Lake:

      Barmy & I got a couple of Italian cold cut subs at Giuseppe's some time ago and liked them quite a lot; we also enjoyed the old-school vibe of the shop and the "no lettuce" sign. (For the record, I've always thought that lettuce in cold subs was due to the influence of national chains such as Subway, not a local tradition at all. There certainly wasn't lettuce on the subs I grew up on!)

      1. re: Allstonian

        In NJ where I grew up we had lettuce on cold subs. I miss it quite a bit up here. The key is that the lettuce was finely shredded, which on a good cold Italian or turkey sub would soak up all the vinegar and seasonings. Top notch, try it sometime!

        1. re: marcreichman

          What exit? My better 1/2 hails from GSPW 117A. I've always known lettuce myself on subs, spuckys, grinders, and heroes. I get lettuce on hot subs myself but the pickled veggies and house made hots made Guiseppe's otherwise soviet sandwich stand out. A Dominican chimi must have the shredded lettuce like many classic sammys.

          Never really understood the Jersey blimps with potatoes. Gotta love the wonderous diversity though!

          1. re: EATTV

            My better half's from 117A too. I always get an earful about the dearth of good subs around here. I think we're going to have to try Giuseppe's next time we're on a DePasquale's run.

            1. re: stomachofsteel

              The sandwich here is not a game changer but it is an experience.

    2. We've had a couple of entirely reasonable Italians from this place when doing our Nonantum errands (besides DePasquale's, Antoine's Bakery is right across the street, plus there's a terrific little hardware store there as well), but I've never gotten the meatball sub. Hm, I do need to make a Russo's run soon...

      1. This probably warrants a thread of it's own but what's with all the lettuce hate on the Eye Talions? Is there some sort of "original recipe" that you all are using as the gauge here and on the "Casa Razdora" thread? I don't think I've ever seen one w/o the green stuff. Examples pls.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Beachowolfe

          Maybe a more southern (CT, approaching NYC) tradition, but grew up with Italian subs usually topped with roasted red peppers and mozzarella, then toasted in the oven. So lettuce never really entered the equation.

        2. Once you learn the area, you'll find that Nonantum is incredibly easy to get to.

          When I was in high school, we'd always go to Guisseppe's for their subs ($0.75 for a small / $1.25 for a large) and, IIRC, ten cent hot dogs on Tuesday.

          Unlike when I was a kid, one now can get a terrific bahn mi across the street from Guisseppe's.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Blumie

            Not according to this month's openings and closings thread -- looks like Bobalicious has finally gone under after a couple of false starts.

            308 Watertown St, Newton, MA 02458

            1. re: Jenny Ondioline

              Bummer about Bobalicious closing!

              308 Watertown St, Newton, MA 02458

            2. re: Blumie

              I love this place. As recently as a 2-3 years ago, I recall the prices as $2.00 for a small sub and the meatballs and sauce were house made and tasty. They did have hot dog Tuesday but never tried them.

            3. EATTV since you were mentioning love for slow cooked tripe in another thread there also is Panela de Barro a self-service Brazilian restaurant in Waltham on the Newton line and they should have dobradinha (tripe and white beans) on their buffet one day per week (I would call to find out or pickup a menu when passing by -- they had one posted there with the buffet plates of the day). I haven't been in a long while and such restaurants can change cooks from time to time, so no guarantees on the food, but as its self service and since they have grilled meats you can weight a small plate first and go back for more if you like it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: itaunas

                Thanks again itaunas. I'm still excited about exploring the carne e cumprimentar itinerary you shared last week. I did visit Meatland in JP this week but while the cases were purty they did not have "scrapple". The butcher claimed he hadn't carried "scrabble" in 15 years or more. Time flies. Today I may visit Savenor's in Cambridge but Waltham is close to me and I will check out Panela de Barro soon. I've had steamed Chinese dumplings on my mind today however. Jao tze w/black vinegar and ginger shreds.