By SUSAN ERICSON
What’s Lunch Meet? Created by borough resident and redbankgreen webmaster Kenny Katzgrau, it’s a loose assemblage of epicures in which any member can suggest a get-together, whether it be for lunch, happy hour or dinner. It’s all coordinated through the group’s Facebook page.
This meetup was called by another Red Banker, Tom Musumeci. No one attending had eaten at Delfini before, but everyone came away impressed by the fresh ingredients and array of choices.
Delfini is more a take-out and catering business, with only two tables in the back of the store, and several customers came in while we ate, picking up sandwiches and other pre-ordered items. Fresh, house-made bread, pasta, vegetables and traditional Italian delicaciescan be found here, along with some unexpected items, such as roasted sweet potato rounds, strawberry salad, Cobb salad, and Buffalo chicken. Delfini also makes a terrific pizza, we’re told.
While we examined the many house-made take-home options in the deli case, owner and chef Chris Delfini treated us to samples of several tasty items. After one, a bite of tangy hot-sauce-peppered Buffalo shrimp, PieHole forgot about the extensive menu of sandwich suggestions, opting instead for a salad featuring the shrimp.
Crisp fresh lettuce, big chunks of real Jersey tomato, cucumber, sweet red pepper, and Italian salad dressing full of garlicky flavor played happily with a half dozen fat shrimp. This salad was the antithesis of how diet food tastes – if one were on a diet, that is. At $11.95, it’s reasonably priced for such a large portion, we’ll order it again, diet or not.
Musumeci and Kenny Katzgrau both ordered the Big Lou sandwich ($9.95); ham cappicola, Genoa salami, pepperoni, sliced cherry peppers, shaved red onion, romaine, provolone, tomato, and chopped marinated artichoke on a fresh roll.
“As an Italian, I approve,” Musumeci said, adding, “Sometimes you have a really strong provolone in a sandwich, but this doesn’t overpower.”
Katie Katzgrau, an elementary school teacher, ordered a Mia Grace, a hero filled with roast beef, Vermont cheddar cheese and tomato slathered with horseradish sauce, which she had wrapped up for later enjoyment. Instead, she ate half of her husband’s Big Lou, leaving room for a few of the samples sent over to our table. Fresh mozzarella with a thick balsamic vinegar, bread stuffed with prosciutto, lobster-filled ravioli and a platter of mini cannoli and rainbow cookies came compliments of Delfini.
Red Bank Lunch Meet can be found on-line here.
Delfini’s is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.