First Timer Report: Midtown’s Alidoro is Just OK
There was a lot of excitement in Midtown last week when we learned that the classic downtown Italian sandwich spot Alidoro was coming to Midtown. The opening day garnered gigantic hour-long waits and many commenters expressed their disappointment in the service and quality of the sandwiches.
I have never been to the downtown location, but both Andrea and Zach are big fans so I was excited to stuff my face on a monster Italian sub. When I arrived Friday around 12:00, the crowds had already formed. It took me about 30 minutes all told to get through the line, order, and leave with my sandwich in hand.
The shop is rather spacious (although you wouldn’t know it by the mass of people at lunchtime) and has a handful of communal tables in the back. Their menu is huge with minor variations between one “name” sandwich and the next (some have cheese, some have arugula, etc.). The Alidoro sandwich (prosciutto, peppers, mushroom paste, fennel, and hot spread) is new for this location and was very tempting, but at $13.50, I decided to play it safer (read: cheaper) with one of their old classics before I took the risk on something new and expensive.
One of the most popular options downtown is named the Alyssa, so that’s what I chose. They immediately ask you to pick a flour (bread), which is maddening since every single option aside from white and wheat is an extra $1. I stuck with a white hoagie.
The sandwich was a decent size and I was certainly not hungry afterward. Some people have suggested sharing with a friend or co-worker, but I’m not sure I’d go that far for a hungry luncher. And the truth is, this sandwich was really nothing special.
It was just fine. As I was eating the thinly sliced smoked chicken breast, fresh mozzarella, and arugula, I kept thinking that I could make this at home myself. Or, order the same sort of sandwich at a corner deli. The bread was ok, with a little crustiness, but there was nothing exceptional and the ingredients were rather mediocre. The chicken cold cuts were bland and the fresh mozzarella did not have any of that fresh buttery richness I expect. The only flavor that stood out was a nice tang from the balsamic.
Like I said before, I can’t speak to how close this is to the original… and if you have a favorite from the Downtown location maybe it’s exactly the same at the Midtown location and you’ll be happy. But if you’re a first timer like me, who loves a great giant Italian sandwich with rich, meaty toppings and excellent ingredients (my favorite is from Graham Avenue Deli in Williamsburg), you might be disappointed after waiting in line and shelling out close to $14 (with tax).
Alidoro, 18 East 39th Street (btw. 5th and Madison), (646) 692-4330