12343 Murphy Rd. @ W. Airport, Stafford
A couple of months back I became obsessed with finding a good Italian sub in Houston, a mostly frustrating endeavor. In my wanderings I happened across mention of this place, a purported Italian deli in Stafford. Seriously? We’re not exactly teeming with Italian delis in Houston but Stafford?
It turns out I had seen it before having been in the convenience store in the strip center a couple of times, but never checked it out. It was always closed when I was there and nothing in the strip was very promising. I was wrong, of course. Once I looked it up online the menu and reviews were so appealing I had to rush right over. Now I’m seriously p.o.’d this place has been here for almost 30 years and no one has ever told me about it. It’s not exactly a secret, though. It’s packed for lunch every weekday, laborers, business-suit types, suspected pols, groups of people in scrubs. It’s obvious there are lots of regulars. It’s cramped on the inside with barely room to pass another person in the line back to the counter where you order. A hard working, very efficient kitchen staff turns out a lot of food in a small kitchen in a timely manner including lots of take-out orders which is what I’ve done several times.
Most of what I’ve had has been very good such as a sandwich special of a Hot Italiano with Black Forest ham, provolone, salami, roasted red bell pepper, tomatoes, romaine, kalamata olives, olive oil and balsamic vinegar on rosemary sour dough bread and a very credible, reasonably proportioned Reuben, although unfortunately with just lean brisket. The only thing I’ve had that didn’t impress was a soup and sandwich special of a spicy sweet potato and peanut soup that I found boring (and a humongous portion) and a half muffaletta.
Their Deluxe Po Boy is not made of the classic ingredients of an Italian sub but was one of the best of this general type of sandwich I had out of almost two dozen I tried working through my obsession, loaded with better quality meats than most places use and on a very good, light baguette. And while some places, especially the sandwich chains, load you up with filler like shredded lettuce and tomato slices on an Italian and are kind of skimpy with the meats, this place is just the opposite, loaded with meats and kind of skimpy on the condiments. It was just a little bit dry, needing a bit more of the vinaigrette.
I have yet to try any of the pastas or salads but what I’ve seen others digging into has looked very good. So score one for the burbs. While the sandwiches don’t quite measure up to Local Foods in the Village or Revival in the Heights, this place would be a welcome addition to any neighborhood in town.
Fresh and Savory