2006-09-06 / Restaurant of the Week

Buon Appetit Deli And Caterers

Cooks Up The Best

o wner John Morana and the crew at Buon Appetit Deli and Caterers are considered masters of the hero sandwich by many, including the New York City Fire Department (New York's Bravest), the Police Department (New York's Finest), and a host of area institutions, including the Department of Education. While

Buon Appetit has always been considered

the Home of the Hero, also offered are dozens of hot entrees, salads and side dishes which vary each day, to the delight of the steady clientele. Behind the sparkling glass faade is a shiny tin ceiling, granite counter tops, tile floors and an array of movie stars images painted on the wall. A few tables allow hungry diners to eat in, especially at lunchtime, the busiest time of day.

Buon Appetit features some 70 varieties of handmade sandwiches and the list keeps growing. Bring a huge appetite when you order one of their mouth-watering, colossal heroes, skillfully constructed by the crew and served fresh as can be. Try the FDNY hero, layers of smoked turkey, fried eggplant, roasted peppers, fresh mozzarella-made fresh on the premises daily and tasting like butter-and vinaigrette dressing. The Robert DeNiro features prosciutto with that wonderful mozzarella, roasted peppers and arugula, with just a smear of fresh pesto. Try the Astoria Park, filled with juicy, hot roast beef, gravy, bacon, cheddar and fried onion. Believe it or not, all these phenomenal heroes, that will keep you full well until dinnertime, are sold at $6. If you are watching your carbohydrate intake, as so many seem to be doing these days, you can also order any of these hero options on a bed of fresh mesculin salad instead. The Buon Appetit crew will even wrap up your favorite fillings in a spinach tortilla, making a delicious and easy-to-eat wrap sandwich. My mouth is watering as I recall the wrap I devoured, filled with tender chicken cutlets, arugula, cherry tomatoes, roasted peppers and crushed green olives.

The oven-pressed Panini sandwiches are also a huge hit. The Cuban is made with roasted pork, Swiss cheese and pickles on a Portuguese roll. A minute on the hot press makes all the wonderful flavors and textures meld for a toasty, tasty treat. Soon, Buon Appetit will start making breakfast sandwiches this way. Imagine two eggs, cheese and bacon piled on ciabatta bread or an English muffin, grilled to a crisp finish on the press. To stay or to go, along with a cup of steaming hot coffee, this will be a great way to start your day.

Buon Appetit can easily make any home kitchen obsolete with a daily array of hot entrees such as eggplant rollatini, roast pork with oven baked potatoes, broccoli rabe and sausage, lasagna, grilled pork chops, chicken marsala with mushrooms and their famous potato croquettes. One

taste of these savory croquettes and you'll be hooked. It's easy to see why they're so popular.

Morana is expanding the list of hot pasta entrees to include orrechiette with grilled zucchini, spaghetti carbonara and penne alla vodka, all of which can be purchased in individual portions or in a family-size tray. An expanded menu of appetizers and finger food is being added as well, and will include fried mozzarella sticks, fried calamari, tacos and, of course, their legendary potato croquettes. Homemade rice balls are prepared Sicilian style with ground beef and peas in

the center and a crisp, golden crust on the outside. John's Italian style meatloaf, with chopped Portobello mushrooms in the mixture, is delicious. Served with mixed vegetables or roasted potatoes, this makes a hearty meal at lunch or dinner.

Sparkling clean, refrigerated cases show off dozens

of fresh, house made salads each day, including colorful three bean salad with red onion, four kinds of potato salad, Caesar salad, hot cherry peppers, homemade caponata, a Sicilian eggplant salad with olives, and cold seafood salad with crunchy celery and red onion. With so many choices, one visit simply will not do. You'll want to stop by often for lunch or after work and leave the cooking to them.

Buon Appetit is not just a deli. The catering division is fully equipped to make your private party a huge success at the location of your choice. Morana can do anything from a simple buffet to a complete, soup-to-nuts, sit-down dinner for hundreds. Buon Appetit has been named one of Queens' most successful caterers, customizing menus to suit every need. The prices are very reasonable and the food is so delicious that even your fussiest guest will be impressed. Six-foot heroes can be made with absolutely any filling you choose, or you could get a variety of heroes, totaling six feet and arranged on a platter, all for the low price of $109 any time.

For world-class sandwiches, hot entrees, fresh salads, Italian specialties and superb catering at very reasonable prices, visit Buon Appetit on Ditmars Boulevard between 36th and 37th Streets. Check out their impressive Web site, with complete menus and pricing.

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