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Eats and Drinks

Best Deli

Mastellone Deli and Wine Shop

7212 Harford Road, (410) 444-5433

Posted 9/21/2005

It’s not the extensive options that keep us coming back to this Harford Road establishment. Many other delis stock more in their refrigerated display cases. Nor is it particularly what the good people at Mastellone do with it. This Italian deli offers only a few sandwiches, all winners, mind you, but if you want sandwiches made to order, go elsewhere. No, what elevates Mastellone among its deli kin is threefold. One, its service, from any of its staff of charming men or the winsome young woman, is impeccably friendly; we have nothing unpleasant to say about our weekly visits, and we can’t think of any other service-oriented place in town we can say that about. Two, though its deli offerings are limited, what it does carry is so spot-on you don’t need seven different varieties of specialty meats. We dare you to find a pancetta or prosciutto that looks prettier and tastes quite as heavenly. And three, the way its friendly staff cuts its flavorful meats so face-mask thin when you ask for such is a miracle of modern slicing: meats so translucently cut shouldn’t be so robust in the mouth. And if you happen to put some of those wafer-thin meats on any of the breads made on the premises—its fresh rolls, still warm, have made recurring appearances in a few dreams—and grab some of the homemade grape leaves (25 cents a piece), you’ll become a regular, too.

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