A Culinary Bright Light in the Wasteland of Sheepshead Bay

As I mentioned in a previous post, I moved to Midwood, Brooklyn a few years ago. Except for a rare few places, it’s mostly a desolate wasteland for food lovers, and it gets worse as you travel farther south into the Sheepshead Bay area. Once there you basically have three options as 90% of eateries will fall into these three categories: 1) Russian food, 2) mediocre seafood, or 3) Russian seafood. The 10% that fall out of this category are either too expensive, owned by Russians, or both (as a first generation american from Russian immigrants I can safely say there’s no escape when you get that far south in Brooklyn). And yet, the other day, I finally found a little spot that somewhat redeems the area. A little sandwich shop, a month old, half a block from the Sheepshead Bay train station named Randazzo’s Sandwich Spot.

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On the outside it doesn’t look like much (a good sign for my love of hole in the walls) and if you just look in while walking by you’ll probably confuse it for another average pizza joint that litter the city.

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But once inside, things take a sharp turn for the better. I’m not a creative person, especially when it comes to thinking of food to make for myself. So it always irks me a bit when a deli doesn’t offer an interesting menu of sandwiches, since I’ll probably just walk out with a roast beef and turkey with russian dressing or a pastrami with mustard on rye (oh Katz’s how I love thee…sorry, had a moment there). And that’s the first way this little spot impressed me, the menu was substantive and fun; they gave real options to choose from that I wouldn’t think of myself, because let’s face it, if I can do it myself why am I there at all. My brother and I promptly ordered two sandwiches and shared to get the most of the experience.

The one I went for was the Soprano: spicy cappicollo, prosciutto, fresh mozz, basil, tomato, oregano, black pepper, oil.

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At the first bite, there’s only one thought that comes to your mind: freshness. Everything in the sandwich tastes unbelievably fresh and delicious, the meat is perfectly sliced and there’s a perfect amount in it, the bread is soft and delicious. It was light, fun, and that fresh mozz, mouthwateringly good. And it was so refreshing too, which having just come from the gym (which I reluctantly just joined and hate. Also made this the perfect lunch as I got to gain back the very few calories i lost and add some on top of that.) and the day as hot as it was, made the sandwich all the better. Then you notice the flavor depth of the sandwich, as you eat you taste all the ingredients perfectly and it’s salty and cheesy and meaty and delicious, and then out of nowhere you finally taste a small kick from the cappicollo, and it’s like you’re biting into the sandwich for the first time all over again.

Then came my brother’s selection, the diablo: spicy sopressata, spicy capicoolo (using the word spicy instead of hot to avoid the confusion of whether the sandwich is heated or not), pepperoni, spicy peppers, pepper jack cheese, and spicy mustard.

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First, it gets all the same compliments that the Soprano got, tasted great and everything was fresh. To add to this, the spice of the meats was perfect, though the mustard may have been a tad overpowering. You could really taste each meat individually as chewed and it made you never want to stop chewing. And once again, the cheese was phenomenal, fresh and brilliantly made. The one downside had more to do with external factors, but with the day as hot as it was already, and having just come from the gym, eating something spicy may not have been the smartest decision on my brother’s part. Otherwise, both sandwiches were simply fantastic.

Now for a couple criticisms. First, the name. As much as I love this little place, is “Randazzo’s” really the name you want to go with? It was a good think I ate before I found out the actual name or I might not have taken it as seriously (figured out what the name was when as I picked up a menu mid-eating). Problem being, they’re only a moth old, they can’t exactly start changing names now…or maybe they can, what the fuck do I know? My second issue was inconsistency with the aesthetic they were trying to create. They were promoting themselves as fun and original. While eating there, a customer and the owner/manager got into a conversation about another, more popular deli, to which the owner/manager said the place is good but overpriced and too plain, too ordinary. He said that’s where Randazzo’s would be different. And it’s true, the menu selection is interesting and the prices are pretty decent. But, then you look at their fridge for beverage selection and it’s the same old soda schlock: pepsi, coke, etc. If you want to be original why not be original, why not get some boylan’s. I would have loved to chow down on my sandwich with some black cherry soda from boylan’s. And take it a step forward, get the minimum license you need to sell beer, beer and a sandwich is a staple lunch and you already have one of the best american breweries in your borough, Brooklyn Brewery. It would have been great to have my sandwich accompanied with some Brooklyn Pennant Ale. But oh well, no use crying over milk that isn’t even there to be spilt. My final complaint is the little blurb they have on the front of their take out menu. Mostly it’s fine except that the first sentence says “for over 80 years, our family has been in Sheepshead Bay, providing this neighborhood with the highest quality foods and customer satisfaction.” But they only opened a month ago. So, what’s the deal? Did they own another place before? Were they just giving out food to the neighborhood for 80 years before they decided to open up shop? I don’t know, and I didn’t read it until I got home so I didn’t get a chance to ask. It’s not a big deal, but it irks me a bit.

Overall the place was still great, of course I only ate two sandwiches so I’ll have to make several more trips to increase the sample size, you know, FOR SCIENCE! I’ve used enough adjectives already to explain how much I enjoyed this place, so I’ll throw it over to Homer Simpson to give a more audio/visual explanation of how much I liked this place: Homer’s review.

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3 thoughts on “A Culinary Bright Light in the Wasteland of Sheepshead Bay

  1. Randazzos’ had a restaurant in Sheepshead Bay for years on Emmons Avenue, and they still have a clam bar on Emmons Avenue. If you are going to make asinine statements before checking things out, you should just keep your mouth closed.

    • From the date of this post, the sandwich shop was only open for a month based on what they themselves told me. I then wrote that the the menu was read at home, and I didn’t have a chance to ask, then concluding that the confusion irks me a bit. Not to mention that I also asked if there was the possibility that they owned another place or if they have been providing food in the neighborhood for 80 years. I don’t see how anything I wrote was asinine considering I admitted being short on knowledge of their history. Thanks for the in depth critique though.

    • chill the fuck out, dude. tork admitted hes not an expert on the history of the place, he was just wondering whats going on. if youre going to make dick statements before reading the entire post, you should just keep your mouth closed.

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