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Restaurant review: Gandolfo’s New York Deli in Oxnard / February 19, 2015

Gandolfo’s New York Delicatessen is a step in a new direction at The Collection, Oxnard’s blooming restaurant, movie and shopping area at RiverPark. The cluster of businesses keeps growing, with Gandolfo’s joining other restaurants designed to keep anyone stopping in the area from going hungry.

Gandolfo’s is a Georgia-based chain with restaurants in 15 states. Paul Miller, founder and former owner of Anacapa Brewing Co. in Ventura, is general manager of the Oxnard location. The interior of the order-at-the-counter spot is small, but there are lots of patio tables in an attractively fenced adjacent area.

The line was just a few folks long when we arrived in the early afternoon. Since the front counter is just paces from the entrance, guests waiting to place orders might have to stand outside during particularly busy times. We were able to order promptly, though, and the food was brought to our tiny table quickly.

We started with the soup of the day ($2.49) and two deli salads ($2.49 each). All are served in small round cartons. The salads, potato-egg and broccoli versions, had a homemade aura, with very fresh ingredients. The day’s lentil soup, though hot, was pretty thin and lacked distinctive flavor. On another day, another soup might have produced different results.

Enthusiasm grew when our sandwiches arrived: the Fifth Avenue ($9.19 for the “whole” size); Long Island chicken salad ($7.99); corned beef on rye ($9.49); and the Traffic Jam Dog ($4.99). The Fifth Avenue was a huge handful, a hero sandwich served whole for an additional $3.50 (the smaller version is $5.69). Our Avenue fan had a very good sandwich of ham, Swiss, lettuce, tomato, marinated mushrooms and mayo, served hot, a portion large enough for two sittings for ordinary appetites.

While all sandwiches can be made New York deli-style on a hero roll, other breads are available for many of them. For the Long Island chicken salad, we were able to sub marble rye, which proved a very good combination with the house-made salad and accompaniments. Corned beef on rye was indeed on rye, but a light, nicely textured rye in big slices, well suited to the abundant hot corned beef and spicy mustard that it was made with. Russian dressing also is available.

Not be forgotten at a deli are the dogs. At Gandolfo’s, Nathan’s is the fabled brand. The Traffic Jam Dog was really yummy, with the dog on a hero roll with bacon, cream cheese, sauteed onions, spicy mustard and ketchup. That dog really knows how to put on a show.

We hadn’t thought too much about dessert, and certainly we can’t say we were hungry, but a tall fellow strolled by our table and others dropping off packaged Black and Whites, good butter cookies iced in vanilla and chocolate.

Gandolfo’s sandwich menu is extensive. Options include turkey, chicken breast and roast beef; various specialty sandwiches, such as a Rocky Balboa with chicken breast, capicola, provolone and the works; and New York favorites like pastrami. Vegetarian sandwiches and fresh green salads also are available.

The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast sandwiches, served hot on kaiser rolls with eggs a basic ingredient, are offered in the mornings. Bagels, with or without fillings, are served hot or cold all day.