Del Italy is an Italian deli that melds a retail selection of house-cured salumi and take-home family meals with a lunch counter serving sandwiches, pastries and fresh pasta dishes. The proprietor is a charming son of Italia who obviously loves what he does, so I had high expectations on my lunch visit with friends.
The retail counter consists of an inviting array of cured and smoked meats. The family-style dishes include a variety of meatballs, lasagna and cannelloni ready to go, but special advance orders are available with ingredients including artichoke, mushroom, asparagus, spinach, shrimp, crab, scallop and lobster.
We did our best to sample as much as we could from the lunch menu. An Italian special sandwich ($7.49) of salami, pepperoni, capicola and fresh basil was served warm with melted provolone cheese. The toasted roll was accompanied by a bit of pesto. It was delicious, but I could have used a little more pesto to counter the dryness of the bread.
Meatball sandwiches are available with a choice of Italian sausage, hamburger or turkey. We chose the sausage ($7.49). The ample serving of meatballs was a nice size, and the sandwich had good texture—not too hard, not too soft—with great seasoning. The marinara was chunky and fresh, and the melted cheese oozed onto the plate. As with the special, the roll was toasted and seasoned—essentially garlic bread stuffed with goodies.
Plate-sized servings of meat lasagna ($9.99) and spinach/cheese cannelloni ($9.99) were each served with a thick slice of garlic bread. All of the pasta was fresh and cooked well, and the lasagna’s blend of meats and cheeses held their own against a hearty, meaty sauce. There was just a bit more salt than we expected, but it wasn’t enough to distract from the rest of the flavors. The same sauce accompanied a pair of large, hand-rolled cannelloni—long tubes of pasta filled with spinach, ricotta and herbs. The filling was really good, and I’d have to flip a coin to decide which pasta dish was my favorite. Both were tasty and finished with plenty of shredded pecorino romano, which is never a bad thing.
Next, we chose a pair of personal pizzas to share ($6.99 for an eight-inch pizza), one cheese and one meat. Mozzarella, parmigiano reggiano and pecorino romano topped our three cheese pie, while pepperoni, salami, dry cured ham, and mozzarella covered the meaty disc. The bottom of the crust was crispy, but the overall texture was something I would call “biscuity.” It was bready and a bit loose, with no chew to speak of—not my favorite crust. But I’d prefer to think of it as simply different from what I’ve experienced, since the man who made it is from Italy, and I’m assuming there are styles of crust I’ve yet to encounter. The sauce—what there was of it—was mostly an accent of oregano and garlic. I would have definitely liked a bit more.
Rounding things out were servings of cannoli ($3.49) and tiramisu ($6.49). The espresso-soaked ladyfinger cake was not too sweet, though a little dry. It could have used just a tad more of the mascarpone custard. The cannoli were absolutely perfect. The shells were just right—the ends dipped in dark chocolate—and the filling was smooth with visible flecks of lemon zest. People occasionally ask where to find a good cannoli, and this beautiful treat has joined my must-try list.