The late great Josh Ozersky once said that I had forsaken my Italian-American heritage to eat my way through the Chinese food courts of Queens. He was partly—well, really mostly—right. When I find myself in need of comfort and familiarity though, there’s nothing quite like a good Italian deli.
I am a huge fan of the ladies at Leo’s Latticini in Corona and their food. They know how to make this Italian boy feel right at home. I am lucky to live so close to their shop. Lately I have been exploring the Italian delis of Astoria. My favorite so far might be Rosarios. Under the el Rosario DiMarco serves up old-school Italian-American comfort food in the form of killer Margherita pizza and more than a dozen sandwiches.
It was a sandwich, and the need for comfort, that brought me to Rosario’s the other day. At first the Calabria ($7.50)—with its trifecta of spicy sopresatta, muenster, and hot cherry peppers—and the Masterpiece ($8.50), which combines porchetta, smoked mozzarella, and mushrooms caught my eye. And then I saw it: The Giuseppe ($8.50).
“Oh, wait a minute Rosario, I gotta get this one,” I said as I ordered my namesake hero: porchetta, broccoli rabe, and provolone. It did not disappoint. The thinly sliced roast pork flavored with garlic and herbs along with the slightly bitter greens and melted cheese was just the sandwich I was looking for. It is a more restrained version of the roast pork Italian that Ozersky turned me on to years ago in Philly.
Don Rosario, as I like to call him in my mind and not to his face, hails from Sicily just like my old man’s family. I have a feeling they would have gotten along famously.
Rosario’s, 22-55 31st St., Astoria, 718-728-2920