Sam's Italian Deli and Market
by Gigi Divine
posted Nov 15 2016 6:39PM
Well, as I promised, I went to Sam's to see how they stack up against my favorite Italian deli, Piemontes. I went in with an open mind and a hungry tummy!! Located on the N.W. corner of First and Clinton in Fresno this place has been around for a very long time. The actual deli is smack dab in the middle of the building, the rest of the space is devoted to pastas, olives and other condiments as well as an extensive wine selection.
I was not greeted by anyone as I walked in and soon figured out that I needed to get a number in order to be served. When my number was finally called the counter person was efficient but not very friendly. When my order was completed I went to the cashier and she was a breath of fresh air. Very nice and asked if I needed anything such as forks, napkins etc. She kept the conversation going until my entire order was complete. Very nice.
3 1/2 forks for service
I ordered the Sam’s special, mortadella, ham, turkey, dry salami and jack cheese. All sandwiches come with the usual mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, wax peppers and pickles. I asked for extra peppers and extra pickles. I also ordered the cheese tortellini salad, macaroni salad and several types of olives. The sandwich was a huge forkin’ disappointment. While the ham and other lunchmeats were layered well the dry salami was stacked so thick and was literally like trying to bite into cardboard. I opened the sandwich to take some of the salami out and discovered that my request for extra peppers and pickles had been ignored, only 3 pickles and 4 pepper rings total!!! What the fork??!! The bread was also a sad disappointment. The top piece of the sandwich was so hard one could hardly bite into it while the bottom piece was soft.
While in contrast to the sandwich the macaroni salad was fabulous!! Fresh and full of yummy stuff, I will go back for it again! The cheese tortellini salad was also delicious with a wonderful blend of olive oil, pepper and fresh basil coating the scrumptious cheese filled gem. Again, I will be back for that!!
The olives and other condiments were also very good but I found the Sicilian cracked olives lacking in true flavor.
2 1/2 forks for food
The prices are much the same as Piemontes and I did like the individually packaged olives. The "house made" pastas were way overpriced and the packaging suggested a cold manufactured feel. Not at all like the packaged pastas sold at Piemontes. But the wine selection was far more extensive than that at Piemontes and the pricing was very reasonable.
4 forks for price
Overall I was not impressed. As I said, I went with an open mind but I was super disappointed. No wonderful Italian deli smells when I walked in, strait forkin’ up lousy sandwich and no personal service.
3 forks overall
So, in conclusion, I have to declare Piemontes the winner of the Italian deli challenge. The Piemontes special sandwich kicked Sam’s sandwich right outa the park as do the housemade pastas and sauces. The only saving grace for Sam’s is the macaroni salads and the wine selection and the wonderful cashier with the great personality and great customer service.
Until next time...eat well my friends,