Sal, Kris & Charlie’s Deli is a sandwich institution on the west side of Queens. This is their Italian, one of two staples on offer. The body is salami, mortadella, pepperoni and provolone, with lettuce and tomato capping things off. As with any good Italian, there are hots if you want them. They also offers something they call “The Bomb,” which is substantially bigger and adds ham, turkey, and two more kinds of cheese. The Italian is more restrained and is a better sandwich for it. It’s quality meat and they don’t skimp, piling it high on a locally baked semolina roll that is, without question, the best hero roll I’ve ever had. It has a wonderfully crunchy crust, a strong, chewy body and brings another layer of flavor to the sandwich.
That said, I don’t like this sandwich. I don’t like this sandwich, but I think you should try it. Let me explain. It’s no secret that I don’t particularly care for cold cuts, but I’d like to think that I’ve shown that I’m willing to be fair. Being fair doesn’t obligate me to like something, though, and I think I can be fair to this sandwich without liking it. This sandwich is the platonic ideal of the grinder. Quality meat, plenty of it, and a great roll. This is everything a hero can be, and if you were called upon to defend the whole idea you could do no better than to cite this sandwich. But it just isn’t for me, and I’m happy to admit that’s about me and not the sandwich. I’ll further admit that I’ve made this site a bit personality heavy. Perhaps that makes this the best time to remind you that I’m not the ultimate authority on the sandwiches you eat, you are. I have my opinions and philosophies and I hold to them, but ultimately I can only experience sandwiches for me, and you only for you. So it may seem a bit contradictory to say that I wouldn’t eat this sandwich again but you should, but that’s what I’m going with. Should I find myself back in Astoria with an associate I’ll gladly guide them to Sal Kris & Charlie’s and enjoy a slice of coffee cake while they settle the issue for themselves. I recommend that one day you do the same.