The firefighter mustache and thick New Yawk accent of Jimmy Beltucci, who greets customers upon entering Uncle Giuseppe's, instantly bestow a nearly bullet-proof deli credibility to the modest four-table-and-a-counter joint. It may be in a Glenwood strip mall, but to hear that accent greet customers, it feels like Brooklyn. Deep Brooklyn.
Beltucci and his son Stephen, co-owners of Giuseppe's, ran a small co-op style grocery on Long Island called Valencia Deli before moving to Boise. They decided to start a deli here because, as the younger Beltucci puts it: "We figured we'd do a better deli than anyone else around here."
Jimmy rattles off a list of available Boar's Head meats and cheeses, along with a declaration that they're "$2 cheaper than Fred Meyer's" to all who enter. Then he pimps the deli's imported Italian meat selection, shaving off a sample and thrusting it over the counter. It's New York at its pushy best.
"Imported meats is nowhere to be found around here," says Stephen. "And we're from New York, so we know what the best quality is."
At their Long Island deli, the Beltuccis were also known for their raviolis and cannolis but haven't been able to vend them at Giuseppe's because the full kitchen isn't up and running yet.
The deli's flagship sandwich, the Italian Giuseppe--prosciutto, capocollo, soppressata, salami, mortadella, provolone, basil, roasted red bell peppers, oil dressing and balsamic vinegar ($6.50)--comes out almost instantly, freshly sliced coldcuts spilling over the edges of a hoagie roll.
The roll is neutral, a white bread that performs its containment duties while distracting little from the bevy of fillings. The meats inside lack the painfully salty tang prosciutto generally wields, instead yielding a lighter flavor, like a fine oil, though it left the various cuts almost indistinguishable from one another.
What makes the Italian Giuseppe work is the layer of strong, sweet balsamic vinegar dressing and the red peppers. A bite containing the sandwich's full ordnance is everything Beltucci's accent promises.
With the sandwich, I order a slice of house-made raspberry cheesecake that is sweet and creamy with a pleasantly moist crust and drizzles of white chocolate on top. It's everything store-bought varieties can never be.
Uncle Giuseppe's also serves a rotating variety of soups and salads, which are also made in-house.
"Basically, we're bringing a real New York concept doing real New York food by real New York people. We're not phonies," says Stephen. "We're also $2 cheaper."