- 2800 Lancaster Ave., Wilmington, DE, 19805
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- 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon-Fri, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat
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In a food landscape filled with sandwich shops, owners have to do something to stand out. They have to find that special ingredient that will make the masses break their lunch routines and try something new.
At Maiale (pronounced my-all-ay, which means "pig" in Italian), owner Billy Rawstrom has found that X factor in his homemade sausages and cured meats. With Maiale, he now has a place to showcase his talent.
He uses fresh, local ingredients (and none of the stuff you may find in other sausages, like MSG, corn syrup or nitrates) to make everything from traditional sweet and hot Italian sausages, to hot dogs, to artisan sausages like fire-roasted poblano and corn sausage, to turkey sausage with dried cranberries.
After tasting the fire-roasted poblano sausage a few months ago during a Cooking with Kelly assignment (yummy!), we got a link of both the sweet and hot Italian sausages ($6.95 a pound) to try on their own. I turned to a sausage expert, had him fry up each of the links and see what he thought. Both won rave reviews -- the sweet had just the right amount of caraway seeds, the hot had just enough zip.
Those sausages are also featured on the lunch menu, in sandwich form ($6.95), with provolone cheese and deli mustard. If you so desire, there are peppers and grilled onions available too.
For the sausage-based portion of our lunch, we tried the cheddar wurst sandwich ($6.95) and the veggie sandwich ($5.95). The cheddar wurst came on a 7-inch roll, topped with a dijonaise sauce. The dijonaise complimented the sausage, without overwhelming it. The veggie sandwich, a vegetarian three bean and mushroom sausage, came on a kaiser roll with grilled onions and picked mustard. Our resident vegetarian raved about the heartiness of the hot sandwich, something she said is hard to find.
With the first bite of the buffalo chicken sausage sandwich ($6.95), you got a little bit of each flavor, hot sauce, chicken and blue cheese. The heat is a slow-building heat, and the sausage itself is quite flavorful. Don't go in expecting it to taste just like a buffalo wing -- it is a sausage, after all. But it captures the essence of buffalo chicken.
The salami sandwich ($7.50) was like a charcuterie plate on a roll, with genoa, sopressata, hot sopressata, hard salami (all but the genoa are made in house) and provolone cheese. The hot sopressata had a good spice, the tomatoes were ripe and the sweet peppers added a nice crisp. The small roll is key here, because any more than that would just be too much.
Homemade porkette ($5.95) was another winner, but we'd be remiss if we didn't mention how good the salads were, which is always a surprise at a specialty meat store. The caprese (which isn't on the menu anymore, but Billy will make if he has the ingredients and you ask nicely), came layered with ripe tomatoes and homemade mozzarella on a bed of greens. The homemade balsamic vinaigrette was amazing -- not too thick, not to thin.
A place that can do meat and salads consistently well? Maiale's can count us in, even if we do occasionally mispronounce the name.