Flatiron Lunch: Salumeria Biellese is Where Your Italian Grandpa Would Go for Lunch
Every Friday we go south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.
I was recently asked if I worry about running out of places to cover in the Flatiron Lunch area, and I had to answer honestly, “Yes!” But when I come across places like Salumeria Biellese, and I am reminded that I shouldn’t stress about it. There are always more hidden gems.
When I previously walked by at night, Salumeria Biellese had their security gates pulled down, and from the outside, it didn’t look like much. I figured it was a generic Italian restaurant trying to trick customers into thinking they are something special with the words “Salumeria”. But on closer inspection a different time, I noticed a few items in the windows like “Since 1925” and “Slow Food NYC” and plenty of framed articles by noteworthy publications. And an intriguing menu.
Salumeria Biellese’s out-dated décor and super-simple set up reminds me so much of Tastee Sub Shop in Edison, NJ (a Zilinski family favorite. If you go, I recommend a #5 with pepperoni, “everything” and hot peppers.) I love that these places both have over 50 years of history. And the clientele at Salumeria Biellese was almost entirely men, and, really, not young men.
I searched a little online before venturing to Salumeria Biellese and found this short article by Edible Manhattan about the wild boar cacciatorini. While it might not be available to have sliced on a sandwich, there is nothing stopping you from buying one and a baguette and going to town at your desk with a pocket knife. They have an entire counter with the cured meat options.
In the hot food warming tray area were many tempting items. The housemade grilled sausages patties would have been good if I had been able to think quickly about what to pair it with (the sausage on its own seemed like it might be dry.) When not under the gun, obviously, I realized cheese would have been an easy choice, as would peppers and onions. But there was also another sausage option with peppers. The chicken valdostana also would have been a good option (I looked it up in advance – it is chicken with prosciutto and cheese!)
There are also daily specials, like roast beef, roast turkey, roast pork, pastrami, etc. Tempting for sure (and Serious Eats created a mouthwatering slideshow to help you decide, but roast turkey would have put me to sleep at work (I went on a Tuesday). Maybe if something without tryptophan had been an option the day I went, I wouldn’t have resisted.
The chicken parmigana was recommended to me, so that was what I ordered (small for $7.35). It fell apart under the pressure of the serving spoon which translated well into a messy, but delicious sandwich. The chicken was lightly (appropriately so) breaded with no lack of melted cheese. The sandwich would have been better if the weather was a little cooler.
Obviously, I also had to try a cold cut sandwich. Being that Salumeria Biellese is an Italian salumeria, I ordered the large Italian combo sandwich ($7.50). They individually cut each meat (with one of two meat slicers on the counter) directly onto the sandwich, first salami, then provolone, followed by what I think was capicola.
Considering cheese was already included, I opted to add roasted red peppers ($1.25) and oil and vinegar for free. They were all great additions, but there is something about shredded iceberg on a sandwich. Even though I am morally opposed to having to pay for shredded lettuce at a sub shop, I should have gotten over it and paid the extra $.50.
The hot and cold sandwiches both have a small option (below in the above photo) and for $1 more, a large option. Both are well sized options, and I can’t really tell if one is a better value. Perhaps more regular customers have opinions, but I would recommend getting the small when you aren’t as hungry and the large when really hungry.
ML’er imthemole previously suggested Salumeria Biellese for the 2012 Reader’s Poll giving a specific shout-out to the salami, egg and cheese for breakfast noting that it is priced similar to a random bodega.
For $2.50, I got the sausage, egg and cheese for breakfast. The sausage tasted pretty good, and the egg was not over-cooked. I only wish the sandwich was tighter wrapped in foil to trap the heat and help the cheese melt. Like all the sandwiches at Salumeria Biellese, the breakfast sandwiches are a good value.
THE + (What people who like this place will say)
- No fuss. Just old school.
- House made meats and individually sliced.
- Salumeria Biellese offers a nice balance between hot and cold ).
THE – (What people who don’t like this place will say)
- Charging extra for lettuce is a crime.
- The décor at Salumeria Biellese is in desperate need of a face-lift.
- Maybe this place was relevant in 1925, but plenty of spots have good Italian sandwiches these days.
Salumeria Biellese, 378 Eighth Avenue at 29th Street, (212) 736-7376