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Meredith Goad

Meredith Goad has harvested oysters on the Chesapeake Bay, eaten reindeer in Finland and sipped hot chai in the Himalayas. She writes the weekly Soup to Nuts column and enjoys a good cocktail.

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Posted: May 22, 2017

The sandwiches at Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli aren’t New York big, but you still might need a doggie bag

Written by: Meredith Goad
The Hell's Kitchen sandwich is made with egg salad, bacon, Swiss cheese, avocado and Cajun sauce. Staff photos by Meredith Goad

The Hell’s Kitchen sandwich is made with egg salad, bacon, Swiss cheese, avocado and Cajun sauce.
Staff photos by Meredith Goad

Don’t get too excited.

Yes, the name of this sandwich shop that’s located in the same strip mall as the Maine Mall Hannaford grocery store is Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli, but it’s probably not what all you former New Yorkers remember from your time in that state. The sandwiches are big, but not the legendary “meat piled so high you can’t put your mouth around it” kind of big.

But even if the sandwiches are not New York big, they are Maine big. Locals will also like that the breads are made fresh daily on site, and there are no nitrates, hormones or antibiotics in the meats.

Heidi’s has a selection of hot and cold sandwiches with cute names evoking the Big Apple – the Bronx Bomber (pastrami and egg salad on rye), the Transplanted New Yorker (mortadella, capicola, salami, ham), the Coney Island Reuben – as well as salads, soups, wraps, smoothies and breakfast sandwiches.

It’s a large, warm space filled with tables and booths, ceiling fans turning gently overhead. Customers order their food at one end of a very long counter and pick it up at the other end.

We ordered the Hell’s Kitchen, from the cold sandwich side of the menu, which was made with egg salad, bacon, Swiss cheese, avocado and Cajun sauce, and “Da Bomb,” which is housemade chicken salad, roasted Italian peppers and melted Monterey Jack cheese over thin slices of tomato, avocado, onion and Cajun sauce.

The chicken salad sandwich ($9.99) was so large I couldn’t finish it and saved the rest for the next day. This sandwich falls under the “hot sandwich” category, where prices are generally in the $8 to $10 range. Presumably it was considered “hot” because of the melted cheese, but I couldn’t find the cheese anywhere, even when I pulled the sandwich apart. I’m sure it was there, but the gooey-ness of the avocado must have hidden it. Or maybe it’s just my preconceived notion, as a cheese lover, that if you’re going to bother to put cheese on a sandwich, you should use more than one ultra-thin slice that gets swallowed up by the other ingredients. Really, the only thing hot about the sandwich was the lightly toasted bread. But the chicken salad was a good, basic chicken salad.

Heidi's Brooklyn Deli is by the Maine Mall Hannaford.

Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli is by the Maine Mall Hannaford.

I also tried my friend’s egg salad, which was very good but, at $10.99 (for egg salad?) comes with a New York price.

Both sandwiches came with the deli’s Cajun sauce, which added a nice little bite to the flavor – some heat, but not too much, so if you don’t like spiciness, no need to be worried.

All sandwiches come with a pickle, which was too sour for my taste, and a choice of chips, cole slaw or potato salad. If I had one suggestion for this place, it would be to take some of that money they’re making off the $11 egg salad ($10.99 – ha, you can’t fool me!) and $6.75 hot dogs and put it into the sides. The chips are a tiny half-ounce package of Lay’s, and the potato salad is paltry and extraordinarily bland to boot.

If you’re thirsty, order a fountain drink, or choose a specialty drink from one of the coolers. A small dessert case is filled with a selection of cakes, cookies, pie, brownies and, of course, cannoli.

I’ll spare you the Godfather jokes.

Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli

WHERE: 415 Philbrook Ave., South Portland, 773-4800, heidissouthportland.com
HOURS: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday
WAIT: A few minutes
PARKING: Large lot
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes

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