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Pastaria Deli & Wine Is Perfection To Go 

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It's hard not to lament Sardella's closure; with the immensely talented Brian Moxey leading the kitchen as executive chef (a title he also holds at Pastaria), the restaurant was putting out incredible food, and felt like it had come into its own as the place Craft envisioned when he opened it in 2016. However, that pain eases the moment you bite into the Sloppy Giuseppe, a spicy, Italian riff on a sloppy Joe. Using the recipe for pork ragu he concocted for Sardella, Moxey layers the saucy meat onto the soft Union Loafers hoagie, then covers it with whipped ricotta and a chili oil drizzle that adds some serious fire to cut through the meat and cheese richness. It's a stunning homage to the space's past.

click to enlarge Executive chef Brian Moxey and sous chef Kris Smith. - MABEL SUEN
  • Executive chef Brian Moxey and sous chef Kris Smith.

The Local Coppa Pork Roast is an equally outstanding hot sandwich. The slow-cooked meat is so succulent you could spread it on a biscuit — or in this case, flawless Union Loafers bread. Red wine vinegar and peppery arugula punch through the richness, but the dish's secret is a drizzle of tonnato sauce, an Italian-style fish sauce condiment that adds a whisper of funky umami, turning this from a great roasted pork sandwich into one of the best meals between bread around.

Pastaria Deli & Wine's cold sandwiches are just as delightful. Boldly billing itself as the World's Best Tuna Salad, the restaurant's tuna salad sandwich has no delusions of grandeur. Unlike its mayonnaise-bomb American cousins, this Italian-style salad folds confit tuna together with olives, capers, red onions, a tiny bit of aioli and garlic chili vinaigrette. It's like eating puttanesca sauce in sandwich form.

click to enlarge A selection of items from Pastaria Deli & Wine: roasted turkey sandwich, tuna salad and Kris's chicken salad. - MABEL SUEN
  • A selection of items from Pastaria Deli & Wine: roasted turkey sandwich, tuna salad and Kris's chicken salad.

The Kris' Chicken Salad sandwich is another standout. Named for the deli's sous chef, Kris Smith, the traditionally mayonnaise-heavy salad is restrained in its use of aioli, allowing the flavor of the roasted chicken to shine through. Celery, chives, oregano and Castlevetrano olives season the dish, while piquant pepperoncini add a pleasantly surprising, spicy punch.

Even a simple caprese sandwich delights thanks to thick-sliced mozzarella, red wine vinegar and an outstanding pesto aioli. And there's nothing simple about the masterpiece that is the Volpi heritage prosciutto sandwich, piled with buttery cured ham, cultured butter, lemon and spicy giardiniera. Whoever came up with the brilliant idea to pair butter with prosciutto should win a Nobel Prize.

Pastaria Deli & Wine also offers a selection of salads (fans of the adjacent Pastaria will be happy to have an additional opportunity to grab its wonderful shaved kale), picnic packs meant to be enjoyed with a bottle of wine by the waterfall down the street at Shaw Park, brown butter chocolate chip cookies, Detroit-style pizzas on Fridays and Saturdays (RIP Porano), and a dish of rosemary, thyme and citrus-marinated Castlevatrano olives that alone make this restaurant's existence cause to celebrate. Biting into one of those buttery marvels and reveling in the spread of crusty bread, cured meat and wine laid out before you, you're treated to a transportive trip to the old country — a journey that is one of the instances of pure joy to come out of this challenging year.

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