by Julia Thiel
The deli counter, in addition to (mostly Italian) meats and cheeses, offers about ten sandwiches and a few grain salads and other sides, averaging $6-$7 per sandwich or per pound—which makes it entirely possible to pick up a couple sandwiches and sides for under $20. There are a few small tables for those who want to dine in, but the sandwiches didn't suffer from traveling before being eaten.
Like the store overall, they're simple but good, with high-quality fillings on lightly crusty D'Amato's bread. It's a good thing the bread is tasty, though, because its mass had a tendency to overwhelm the ingredients on the All Italian (ham, salami, mortadella, provolone, red onion, lettuce, tomato, dressing) and Bella (roasted portabello mushroom, caramelized onion, grilled artichoke, basil mayonnaise). The Italian dressing on the former tasted more like straight olive oil—but it was good olive oil. The only sandwich on the menu not served on D'Amato's bread is the Lagano, a generous mound of smoked turkey with prosciutto "bacon," Swiss cheese, tomato, and arugula on multigrain. It was also one of the best, elevated by the crispy prosciutto, which I've never tried before but should probably be used on all sandwiches. Another favorite was a side of sweet potatoes with brown butter and pecans, a well-executed classic.
I didn't try the cannoli, but I should have. Still, there's always next time—and there will be a next time.
Half Italian, 2643 N. Milwaukee, 773-227-5600, Mon-Fri 8 AM-7 PM, Sat 9 AM-7 PM