There's a sandwich on the menu at Manzano's Deli called the "Italian Stallion." It's an obvious, fleshy-hued homage to the 1970 Sly Stallone effort of the same name – you know, the pre-Rocky nudie rooted in B-movie and softcore lore. The sandwich ($14.99) is packed with salami (natch) but, I gotta tell ya, the sheer heft and size of this 15-incher fattened with ham, prosciutto and pepperoni left me speechless. I couldn't help but stare at the damn thing for a few seconds after unsheathing it from its wrapping. Impressive. Should any of you budding food porn writers out there indulge yourselves in this behemoth, you'll agree with me that this is about as well-endowed as a sandwich can get.
I know what you're thinking: This is so juvenile. How is it that you're even a writer? My response: 'cuz I can't sing or dance, Adrian. So to all of you squirming at the full-frontal assault of the preceding words, I do apologize, but I'll stop short of offering a full retraction [slaps knee and guffaws].
Yeah, Manzano's sammies are a big deal, but they're quality too, employing Boar's Head meats and cheeses along with French bâtard loaves flown in from artisan bakery Tribeca Oven in New Jersey. And, yes, they're offered in sizes other than obscene, but it still took me a couple of days to finish a half-portion of the Philly cheesesteak ($9.99). I had provolone, peppers and mushrooms thrown on that jawn too – Cheez Whiz wasn't available. Later in the week, a half-order of the hot pastrami ($9.99) sandwich offered two additional days of hefty gratification.
No one could ever accuse Manzano's of skimping. I mean, they pile on the meats like there's no tomorrow, but there's always a tomorrow – otherwise these sandwiches would never be finished. If you're the sort who likes polishing off a sandwich in just one sitting, a panini – like the substantial-enough grilled chicken pesto ($8.95) – will certainly do the trick. So will any of their breakfast items like, say, the "Inlet" bagel ($7.99) with lox, cream cheese, capers, tomato and red onion. It's nice and salty. The bagels come from the Bronx, so says the menu, which should please bagel snobs and New Yorkers.
Prior to taking this trip to bountiful, however, there is some COVIDiana to consider: On both my (takeout) visits, there were no other patrons in the joint except me. The tables were all appropriately distanced, though no hand sanitizers were to be seen anywhere. Also, none of the workers wore masks. When I popped into Tin & Taco next door, I noticed the same thing – tables appropriately distanced, but no hand sanitizers anywhere and workers didn't wear masks. Not that they're required to, I should say.
It seems some of you care about such things, and others don't, but, one thing's certain: It's getting testy out there, folks. As Manzano's Deli, like all restaurants, is left to devise its own protocols, it's important to understand the enormity of not just their sandwiches, but of the effects coronavirus is having on businesses and consumers alike. Stay safe.