The Randazzo family, proud proprietors of the iconic Randazzo’s Clam Bar on Emmons Avenue, has started slinging subs on Sheepshead Bay Road — setting up a lip-smacking smackdown against a neighborhood staple, the 74-year-old Jimmy’s Famous Heroes.
Our crack sandwich team at Brooklyn Daily — heroes in their own right — put the budding rivalry to the taste test last week, and let their stomachs do the talking:
Randazzo’s Sandwich Spot, Sheepshead Bay Road between E. 15th Street and E. 16th Street:
• Pros: The clean and cozy deli-sized storefront offers 26 sandwiches with creative ingredient combinations and names such as “Brooklyn South,” “Cyclone” and “Abondonza.” Randazzo’s also has greater variety and popular modern features such as a make-your-own salad bar. The subs cost $6, but will jump to $8.50 this week.
• Cons: The deli has four stools and no table seating, though owner Joe Randazzo says he plans to add two tables soon. The small space gets crowded quickly.
• The sandwich: We ordered the “Bella,” a fried chicken cutlet sandwich grilled on the spot with fresh mozzarella, portabella mushrooms, roasted peppers, and balsamic dressing. The chicken was crispy, and the mushrooms added some nice texture and flavor. But, for $8, the sub could have been bigger.
Jimmy’s Famous Heroes, Sheepshead Bay Road between Shore Parkway and Emmons Avenue:
• Pros: Jimmy’s hasn’t changed much since it opened during the Great Depression. The deli specializes in tried-and-true classics that have helped it stay in business for more than seven decades.
• Cons: What you see is what you get. There’s no grill, which means sandwiches are heated up in the microwave.
• The sandwich: We ordered a chicken cutlet sandwich — the closest thing to the “Bella.” Jimmy’s sandwich came with fresh mozzarella and “the works” — tomatoes, onions, shredded lettuce, salt, pepper, and a healthy sprinkling of oregano. The sandwich was massive but not too filling, thanks to the extra veggies. It was $10, pretty steep for a sub, but the price tag was worth it.
The verdict: Jimmy’s Famous Heroes. If deli lovers are willing to venture into unchartered sandwich territory (such as the “California Special,” which boasts avocado and champagne dressing), Randazzo’s will be a hit for years to come. But there’s a reason why Jimmy’s has been around forever: their sandwiches are just too good. Don’t mess with a good thing.