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Italian Deli

Chapel Hill: La Russa's Italian Deli

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Chapel Hill: La Russa's Italian Deli

David A. | Jan 25, 2004 08:58 AM

I stopped in at the newly opened La Russa's Italian deli in Meadowmont Village this week. The place looks promising: frozen entrees for takeout (ravioli, manicotti, lasagna, etc.), homemade sausages, antipasti salads, and subs. I didn't try any of these but I had a good feeling about the place: it has the air of northeastern authenticity. My only reservation is that it's pricey in some cases: a whole sub runs $9-$11, which is the most expensive sub I've ever heard of.

The big news is that the place offers sfogliatelle imported frozen from New Jersey and baked on the premises. Given the rough treatment they had received during their journey south, these were surprisingly satisfactory, and not completely outrageously priced at $1.29 each. For those who don't know, sfogliatelle at their best are just about the most delicious pastry on the planet. Only the highest caliber French patisserie can compare. Native North Carolinians who have never had the pleasure should make a point of stopping in and giving these a try. At La Russa's they serve the sfogliatelle slightly warmed in the oven, which is new to me. They get a bit greasy this way, but the warmed filling is kind of nice. Even if these are not the best sfogliatelle -- this honor, as far as I know, goes to Modern Pastry on Hanover Street in Boston -- they are better than any other pastry currently on offer in the Triangle, except maybe the apple strudel at Gugelhopf, which has the enormous advantage of being fresh.

Best,
David A.

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