By Steve LaRosa
Getting your Italian fix has never been this easy.
Webster’s defines delicatessen as a shop where cooked meats, cheeses, salads, relishes, etc., are sold.
I define delicatessen as a place around the corner from my grandmother’s house in Boston that has sawdust on a grungy wooden plank floor, smells like stinky feet and makes the best subs in my known world. And where there’s a lot of yelling.
Dominick Bellizzi, owner of Dominick’s Italian Market & Deli in Granite Bay, defines it as a place that sells housemade food, top-quality cold cuts and cheeses, and imported Italian fare in an atmosphere that “feels like you’re in our house and part of the family.Â”
My first clue was the bell: Open the door at Dominick’s and an old-fashioned bell announces your arrival. There’s no slipping in quietly here. Chances are you’ll be greeted by Bellizzi himself. If he’s temporarily tied up, he’ll get around to you—and don’t be surprised if he’s got something in those big, friendly mitts that he wants you to sample.
While I’m happy to report that Dominick’s is devoid of the aforementioned foot smells of childhood, this place is the real deal. They don’t scrimp on quality or feign authenticity here. Bellizzi, a New Jersey transplant, takes great pride in his product—housemade or imported. East Coasters may be familiar with Boar’s Head and Calabro, just a couple of Dominick’s high-quality purveyors of cold cuts and cheeses.
In the kitchen, Dominick’s wife, Raquel, relying on many of her mother-in-law’s recipes, cooks up a mean chicken saltimbocca. The lightly breaded chicken is layered with ham, eggplant and mushrooms, then topped with red and white sauces and melted mozzarella—many ingredients, well-balanced flavor.
I strongly recommend the Philly cheese-steak sandwich, made with thinly sliced rib eye. Unlike some Phillys, which come with limp, dreary meat, Dominick’s is made fresh to order and served on a crunchy, tasty roll.
I’m not hot and cold about the hot sandwiches, or the cold ones, either. They’re squisito (Italian for “damn goodÂ”). Definitely try the sausage and pepper sandwich and the cold Italian combo. From the salad case, the tortellini salad—featuring housemade pesto—is numero uno (Italian for “that’s damn good, tooÂ”). And don’t leave without dessert. How are the cannoli, you wonder? Whaddaya think?
8621 Auburn-Folsom Road, Granite Bay; (916) 786-3355; Open 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Sunday.
Look for Steve LaRosa’s restaurant reviews the first Friday of every month at 11 a.m. on “News10 Midday. “