Husband Eric is at leisure, having just wrapped up an impressive, 51-year career doing very smart things. Now I have a constant companion, with a bonus: He likes to drive.
On a beautiful afternoon we headed west on the New York State Thruway to visit DomAdi’s Deli on Route 5S, just a hop and a skip off the highway.
My usual occupation in the car is the crossword, but this day I read from the DomAdi’s menu on my phone. They’re open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and offer fried stuff, sandwiches and subs both hot and cold, salads, wings and some Italian specialties. Most dressings, salads and sauces are made in-house.
We agreed that the fried, hand-cut mozzarella bites were the way to start, and easily spotted DomAdi’s on 5S though we passed it by and had to turn around.
DomAdi’s resides in a strip mall; it has a small covered patio out front that could use some greenery to soften the view. Inside, it’s bright and cheerily painted in red and white. The counter takes up the far wall, while another is luminous with drinks refrigerators. Points to them for offerings beyond cola and diet cola.
It smelled good in DomAdi’s, we agreed, even through our cotton face masks: a mixture of potato salad, cold cuts and something fried.
A menu of sorts hangs from the ceiling behind the counter; each poster-sized blackboard comprises a section of the menu.
The enterprising employee informed us that the mozzarella bites were not available, but would we like to try their famous jalapeño poppers? No? We agreed to an order of colossal onion rings with secret sauce.
Cody, identified later on the receipt, offered suggestions. “I like that one,” he said when asked about the creamy balsamic dressing. He continued to steer us through the ordering and we had a very good result.
The onion rings were colossal indeed. The thick slices of fresh white onion were sweet as anything from cooking. The batter brought to mind tempura — it was that light and, in places, translucent. “These won’t travel well,” said Eric, reaching for his third. They didn’t taste oily, though there was oil on the paper in the basket.
“I really like the sauce,” he said, especially the horseradish flavor. “It’s secret,” I was told with a smile when I asked about it later.
A chef salad ($9) sounded good, especially one made with Boar’s Head cold cuts. It didn’t disappoint. The ham and turkey were rolled and cut into pinwheels, the American cheese cut into matchsticks and scattered over attractively. A perfect hard-boiled egg, though with a persistent bit of clinging shell, rounded it out. I gave the Romaine a B, as the pieces were big and there were some brown edges.
Cody was right about the dressing: The creamy balsamic was smooth and delicious. I dipped chunks of tomato and slices of cucumber in, and brought home the unused portion. Overall, a good salad and one I’d order again.
Eric turned his sandwich to show me the thick layer of meat in the mammoth ham and cheese sub ($9) he ordered. It looked just right, with folds of deluxe ham, bright red tomato, shredded iceberg lettuce and smears of Hellman’s mayo. Subs come in one size here — large. The half-moon provolone slices were assertive, sharp and complex. Eric liked the sandwich very much but could only eat half.
The potato chips from Terrell’s in Syracuse were ridgy and had just the right amount of salt and crunch. Points for local sourcing and good flavor.
When we’d had our fill of watching Dollar General and Hill & Markes semis rolling by on 5S, we went back to the counter to pick up a chicken Parmesan dinner ($14) to go. Dinners come with choice of garden salad or Caesar and garlic bread.
Much later, we sat down to share the meal. We didn’t care much for the chicken cutlet. It had chewy bits and the coating could have had more flavor. But the house-made sauce was excellent and abundant, and I liked the penne better than I expected. We shared the garden salad with its very fresh lettuce and thinly sliced onion. Eric liked their Italian dressing very much, but the mustard flavor was too strong for me. The garlic bread turned out to be a half sub roll lightly seasoned and griddled.
DomAdi’s makes desserts, too, and Cody recommended the carrot cake or the chocolate overload cupcake ($3), though they all looked good. Eric chose the chocolate and called it, “wonderfully moist, really chocolatey.” The thick and creamy frosting was intensely flavored, he reported. “Mmm,” he added.
The tab for our lunch, including dinner to take home and a drink, came to $46.76 before tax and tip. Not bad.
DomAdi’s is a friendly place with very good food, much of it made from scratch and done well. It’s locally owned and the people are nice, so give it a try.
Caroline Lee is a freelance writer who lives in Troy. Reach her at [email protected]
WHERE: 1451 State Highway 5S, Amsterdam; (518)212-6444; domadisdeli.com
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily
HOW MUCH: $46.75 for two lunches and dinner for one to go
MORE INFO: Credit cards: Mastercard, Visa, American Express. ADA compliant. Large parking lot.