A Sandwich a Day

Reviews of Chicago sandwiches.

A Sandwich a Day: Berto's Sub at Berto's Deli & Pasta Shoppe, Downers Grove

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[Photograph: Molly Durham]

When craving an Italian sub, there are three main things I'm looking for: a flaky roll, a big stack of quality dry-cured meats, and giardiniera that just barely sets my mouth on fire. Berto's Sub ($4.50 for 6") at Berto's Deli in Downer's Grove gave me all of those. At least almost.

Let me clarify: I chose the mild giardiniera and that was the one area I unhappy with. So operator error on my part. The peppers were mild, with just a hint of that heat I was looking for. I loved how they were in huge chunks—ones you really feel when you bite into. Had the heat been there, it would have brought this sandwich completely together, making it a contender to compete with some of my favorites.

But the meat is allowed to shine since the sandwich isn't too spicy, oily, or heavy on the bread. The classic sub meats taste like they've just been sliced, and the bread isn't hard enough to distract from that. Just barely flaky and definitely chewy, it held everything together (almost too much at times since I had those bites where you pull so hard you almost get whiplash from the neck jerk that ensues.)

Will it make you want to trek to Downers Grove? No. But it's a perfectly acceptable and fresh sub just outside the city.

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