Location: Zarri’s Delicatessen
Sandwich: Pulled Pork Sandwich
A delicatessen is almost inherently Jewish in my mind. Some of my most fondly remembered sandwiches were eaten with a black and white cookie, dill pickle, or if I was really lucky, an egg cream from a Jewish owned spot. Zarri’s Delicatessen (and Merriam-Webster’s etymology of the word) have broadened my narrow view to include the deli originator: the Italian Delicatessen.
I can tell Zarri’s is a classic when I first step inside. They have an in-use Pepsi menu board with the bright white removable plastic numbers. Vintage posters hang above the shelves of food. A giant pyramid of panettone greets me in front of rows of dried pastas, Italian wines, and jars of every conceivable ingredient to make a delicious Italian meal. The prices for the cheeses looked fair and the selection of authentic Italian goodies was surprisingly large for the size of the shop. Having fully perused, I gained my focus and approached the deli counter, ready to try out a sandwich from this local legend.
I don’t think it is possible to pick a favorite between the Jewish and Italian deli. For a sandwich journalist, that would be like asking them to choose which child they like better. I don’t have children, and I still couldn’t pick. I will throw it out there that Italian delis will undoubtedly have pork on the menu. This un-kosher fact of the matter and a handwritten paper sign taped to Zarri’s front door that said “Pulled Pork Sandwich” convinced me that I would try the pulled pork sandwich. I realized how far my selection was from a classic Italian deli item, so I asked for the sandwich to be made on ciabatta bread. I added to my order one of the tasty looking panettone loaves, a candy, and my favorite sandwich chips and made a nice lunch out of it.
The pulled pork was absolutely the star here, but I would be doing Zarri a disservice if I did not mention how tasty that ciabatta bread was. It created a perfectly chewy pillow for the pork to rest on. Any sauces and drippings that would have easily poured out from a lesser vessel were held deliciously in the porous interior of the bread.
But the pork… My sandwich maker grabbed it out of a large black witch’s cauldron which released a tantalizing smell throughout the whole shop. Whatever combination of spices and sauces that Zarri put on that pig left me wanting and needing naught. I typically put check marks up and down the ingredients list on a sandwich order form like I’m a middle school mad man doing a suicide at the soda fountain, but that was completely unnecessary here. I only needed the bread and pork. The next time I’m craving a mortadella or prosciutto sandwich, Zarri’s will be a short walk away, but it will take some serious resolve not to just get the pulled pork sandwich again.