Sandwiches/Subs in North

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    When I was growing up in DeLand, there just weren't any kosher delis around. I didn't discover blintzes, latkes and matzo ball soup until going off to college in Atlanta. And while these days Orlando hardly brims with traditional Jewish food, the unassuming market and deli Amira's is worth a visit.

    As a kosher deli, cleanliness, food and service at Amira's are supervised by the Orlando Rabbinic Council. But don't ask about the name; I felt like a real schlemiel when I asked our waitress for a translation, and she informed me that "Amira" is the owner's first name.

    My companion and I visited for lunch, served between 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. For starters, we split the mini Israeli sampler ($4.95), a smaller version of the Israeli platter ($6.95). I could have made an entire meal out of the falafel (think chickpea hushpuppy) and the eggplant relish, which was similar to ratatouille. The tabouli also was tasty; heavier on parsley than bulghur wheat, it tasted more like a regular salad than other versions I've tried. And while I thought the hummus had too much tahini, my companion pronounced it delicious. Our sampler also came with a big plate of pita bread.

    For my entree, I ordered half a "Virgin Rachel" and a cup of chicken noodle soup ($5.95 for the combo). Even without the customary Swiss cheese, this Rachel was superb. Served grilled on rye bread, it came with a huge, hot stack of pastrami, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing. The soup stock was marvelous, although there was only one measly piece of chicken hiding in a cup full of noodles. My companion's overstuffed cold corned beef sandwich on rye ($6.95), served plain with condiments on the side, was similarly outstanding. His sandwich came with cole slaw and potato salad, fries or a potato knish. He chose the latter, a spicy mashed-potato mixture inside flaky pastry.

    Other sandwiches include hot or cold beef brisket ($7.25), chopped liver ($5.25), half-pound turkey burgers ($6.25), and quarter-pound chili dogs ($4.45). And excepting Friday evenings, when Amira's is closed, the dinner menu includes stuffed cabbage ($9.95), prime rib ($12.95), half a rotisserie chicken ($9.95), and open-face roast beef or turkey sandwiches (both $7.95).

    A Brit opening a curry stand is nothing new, but a restaurant steeped in Indian cuisine using a time-honored British dish as a launching pad for seafood fusion? Well, that calls for a closer look. 

    The small, cozy interior of this strip-mall restaurant is more family dining room than seaside shack, but the flashy part is the menu. New England, Floridian and Caribbean seafood styles dominate, often with a curry or southeast Asian twist. But they do traditional just fine: The whiting fish and chips ($7.45, served with cole slaw) is a huge slab of tenderly fresh fish, with a satisfying (but not gratuitous) layer of golden-browned batter. Beyond the basket are entrees like curry shrimp ($12.95, with two sides) pan-seared and slathered in delicious red curry with the spice turned up, surprisingly accurately, to your liking. The side of hush puppies, crispy on moist, is a must-try.

    fish and chips ($7.45, served with cole slaw) is a huge slab of tenderly fresh fish, with a satisfying (but not gratuitous) layer of golden-browned batter. Beyond the basket are entrees like curry shrimp ($12.95, with two sides) pan-seared and slathered in delicious red curry with the spice turned up, surprisingly accurately, to your liking. The side of hush puppies, crispy on moist, is a must-try.

    Take one look at the decor in LaSpada's cafeteria-style eatery, and you'd probably guess they sell cheese steak and hoagies even if you didn't read the full name. Posters of the Rocky films, Phillies memorabilia, New York Yankees hate speech ' the kitschy charm doesn't make a great sandwich, but it helps while you wait for one. 

    The 6-inch steak supreme ($5.75) crams chopped steak, onions, green peppers, mushrooms and white American cheese into a tiny roll, making it a seasoned, cheesy mess that's worth grabbing a fork for. On the cold side, a 6-inch LaSpada's Famous ($5.95) stacks five different meats, including prosciutto and capicola, on provolone cheese and vegetables, creating a sandwich that's tasty but challenging thanks to the super-salty cold cuts. Sides include a couple of homemade salads for 95 cents each: The potato is sadly bland, but you may want to grab a large portion of the creamy macaroni.

    Hero, hoagie, wedge, bomber, grinder, po' boy, torpedo, submarine, zep -- whatever you call them, the problem with a takeout sandwich is that by the time you get it home, the bread is all soggy and limp.

    So plan on staying when you order any variety at Rhino Subs, the yellow building at 805 Lee Road, and then get comfortable at the umbrella-covered tables. Because fresh from the oven is the best way to appreciate the hot sandwiches that are the high point of this new endeavor from the experienced owner of Straub's Seafood.

    So plan on staying when you order any variety at Rhino Subs, the yellow building at 805 Lee Road, and then get comfortable at the umbrella-covered tables. Because fresh from the oven is the best way to appreciate the hot sandwiches that are the high point of this new endeavor from the experienced owner of Straub's Seafood.

    Step up to the window and order steamy varieties like the "explorer," with smoked turkey, sautéed mushrooms and Swiss cheese, or the "outfitter," with roast beef, ham and turkey. On the cold front, several concoctions are offered, and even though the sign still offers it, ice cream is, alas, no longer available.

    We didn't review this location but you can check out the review of the TooJay's Deli on Colonial Drive.

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