Uncle Giuseppe's Italian & American Eatery

A while back, I invited the people who follow my Facebook page to recommend any great places I may be missing.  The lone response came from a woman named Jennifer, who shared her enthusiasm about a relatively new deli and sandwich shop called Uncle Giuseppe's Italian & American Eatery.  I was very happy to have someone recommend it to me, as the place had already been on my radar for a few weeks (so many eateries, so little time money).  Finally, opportunity presented itself in the form of what I refer to as a "grab bag day".  Just to clarify, when nobody wants the same thing or can even agree or compromise on what to eat, sometimes I just shrug and take everybody to get exactly what they want.  In this instance, there were three of us.  The toddler got Wendy's, the roommate got Panda Express, and I'm pretty sure you can guess where I went.

Uncle Giuseppe's is truly a gem hidden in plain sight, taking up a small corner of a small strip of businesses near the Southeast corner of Glenwood and State Streets in Boise.  Leaving mother and child in the car I ran inside with the intention of just ordering a quick sandwich and leaving, but as sometimes happens, I got distracted.
The first thing that grabbed my attention was the big metal rack of Barilla dry pastas along one wall.  I've been in a fair amount of Italian eateries and delis in my day, but never have I seen one selling name brand pasta.  This didn't bother me though, since Barilla is pretty much all I buy.  Walking up to the counter to check out the menu, I was immediately greeted by a man I can only describe as a stereotypical New York Italian deli owner, and I mean this in the nicest possible way.  Having actually lived in New York for a couple of years, I feel very comfortable saying that nobody does deli like New York, and my hopes got a little bit higher when this man greeted me with his strong accent and thrust a paper-thin slice of cured pork across the counter for me to sample.  Speaking of the deli part of the operation, Uncle Giuseppe's uses Boar's Head products.  Proudly.  I mean there are signs everywhere.  I was told with equal pride that they also sell Boar's Head meats and cheeses by the pound, and for as much as two or three dollars less than Fred Meyer.
Do-it-yourself sandwiches also available
Perusing the menu, I came across the first of two problems I would end up having with Uncle Giuseppe's:  the names of the sandwiches.  I have a low tolerance for cutesy names.  I've never even sampled the Rooty Tooty Fresh 'N Fruity at IHOP because I can't bring myself to say the name to the waitress.  Well, that and because IHOP kind of sucks and I almost never go there, but I digress.  After wading through the list of sandwiches named in honor of various television shows, movies, sports figures, crooners, mobsters, and even one that panders to the multitudes of Broncos fans, I chose one named after a catch phrase.  The "Forget About It" has a silly name but an impressive ingredient list: Salami, Prosciutto, Parmesan, Provolone, fresh basil, roasted bell peppers, lettuce, tomato and balsamic vinegar.  Luckily for me, all of the sandwiches on the menu are also numbered, so I was able to order it through unclenched teeth as "a number five".

Salads, sides and desserts

Meats and cheeses.  SOME of them anyway.

As I waited for my sandwich, I checked out some of the stuff they had under glass, reminding myself all the while that I had already ordered a twelve inch sandwich instead of the six inch I had originally intended, and that both of the people in my car had their own food, so ordering a bunch of pasta salads and extra meats and cheeses wasn't the best idea.  Especially since it was actually kind of warm outside for a change and we wouldn't be going straight home.  Promising myself that I would return one day soon if the food was good, I patiently waited for my paper-wrapped parcel, thanked the counter staff, tossed a dollar in the tip jar and headed out.

The "Forget About It", but what's in a name?

As I said, the weather was uncommonly pleasant, so after a short discussion we headed to the nearest park to eat.  The situation couldn't have been more perfect.  I've eaten deli sandwiches in the deli, at home, at work, in the car, but the best place is still a park bench on a nice day.  Still, we must have been a sight sitting there, a toddler eating chicken nuggets, a woman with a carryout box of chow mein, and a man with a foot long Italian sub.  Then again, nobody paid us much attention what with all the little girls running around wearing pink tutus over their clothes.  Gotta love children's birthday parties...

Near-perfection on Italian bread

The best way I can think of to review the sandwich is how I put it to my dining companion.  Every once in a while she would look over at me where I was more or less silently munching, and all I could blurt out was "I'm very happy right now".  Eventually, I was able to describe how good the roasted red peppers were, that the balsamic was applied perfectly so the bread didn't get all soggy, how despite the vinegar and two strongly flavored meats, I could distinctly taste both the Parmesan and Provolone cheeses.  The salami gave a nice little bite, but the star of the show for me was the Prosciutto.  Much is made of bacon these days (and I'm as guilty of it as anyone), but Prosciutto is something special, a bacon deluxe, like a Fruit Roll-Up but made out of pork!  I was even able to get her to try a bite...or maybe I should say I was able to convince myself to share a bite with her...either way, she said it was pretty good, and she's not even a pork fan!

I'm reluctant to refer to a place as one of my favorites, having only eaten there once, but it's certainly tempting in this case.  I get the feeling I'll know soon enough though.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention my second problem with Uncle Giuseppe's:  they need to be closer to my office so I can go there once a week.

Food:  A
Value:  A
Service:  A
Atmosphere:  B-
Final Grade:  A-

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  1. I tried Uncle Giuseppe's for the first time on 9/6. I'm not big on ordering sandwiches when I go out and this was my first time in an Italian Deli, so I don't have anything to compare it with. I asked the man behind the counter what he'd recommend and he suggested the #16 aka "Italian Guiseppe's", which consists of prosciutto, capocollo, sopressata, salami, mortadella, provolone, basil, roasted red bell peppers, oil dressing and balsamic vinegar. Unfortunately, I was so excited to be trying something new that I failed to read the description closely, because if I had, I would have stayed away from any sandwich that came with oil dressing and balsamic vinegar, particularly the balsamic vinegar. I like it, just not on a sandwich. I'll eat almost anything but the one flavor profile I do not care for is anything that imparts a sweet flavor to a meat and/or an entree, which is what the balsamic vinegar did for me. Anyway, I got a 6 inch #16, but I made the mistake of not eating it until a few hours later, which gave the balsamic vinegar and oil dressing plenty of time to saturate the bread. I ended up pulling the meat and cheese out of the sandwich and eating bites of each. I thought the quality of the bread was good and the meats and cheese were exceptional. I'll definitely go back and give it another try, but next time I'll pay more attention to what I'm ordering and I'll eat it on the spot. Some of the hot sandwiches sound intriguing. I didn't price the meats, but I love Boar's Head so it's great to have a place that sells it for less than the competitors. I like knowing that a place like this exists in Boise. I've never been to New York, but walking into Uncle Giuseppe's is what I imagine it must feel like to spend time in Little Italy.

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