I had never heard of BMH Italian before my sandwich quest began. I found it via Yelp as a best rated local spot and after seeing a review by a woman who said her grandma recommended the place to her, I was sold. If an 80 year old woman thinks it is worth spending what precious little time she has left eating this food, I feel obligated to take this place seriously.
BMH is located at the mouth of El Cajon Boulevard. Now there are pockets where El Cajon Blvd is really kind of cool with some great restaurants and bars (Ould Sod, I’m looking at you). This is not one of them. This is exactly how you picture El Cajon Boulevard to be–seedy and the possible location of a stabbing. On their to-go menus, BMH lists their location being “just West of Saint Martin’s church.” I would have said “across the street from Paradise Auto and Random Boat Engine Sales” or “next to the guy on the corner wearing a hoodie and drinking out of a paper bag.” However, once I got past the exterior and located the health department’s A-rating in their window, I was so very happy I came. The place reminded me of Satriale’s from the Sopranos, which is fitting seeing as how they has a signed Sopranos poster for sale in the foyer.
They have a mini dining room to the left of the entrance and some dry goods and homemade, frozen pasta dinners for sale in the deli area. When I entered, there were a couple Italian women sitting at a table, gossiping. For whatever reason, I found this incredibly comforting. I was still studying the menu when a man walked out from a back room, heartily greeted me, then turned to yell, “Come on! Whaddaya doing?” to one of the women chatting. The bleach blonde, tattooed lady got up slowly, still talking, and sauntered around the counter to take my order. I was with my brother, and when he requested the torpedo, she asked if he wanted the regular price or the $5 one.
“Is it smaller?” I asked.
“Sooooo, it’s 12 inches.”
(I clearly wasn’t getting it.)
“Yeah, it just has a little less meat.”
Ooooooh, okay. We wanted the full experience in order to fairly judge them, so we just went with the regular torpedo as it was only $6.75–still incredibly cheap for a full-sized sandwich. I myself ordered the Southside. She asked for my name for the order and when I gave it to her she responded, “OH! That’s my name! But I go by Gigi.” Of course you do, Gigi. Of course you do.
Alright. These sandwiches.
Brian’s was ham, provolone, cotto, and genoa salami.
Mine was ham, cotto salami, genoa salami, capicolla, provolone, and hot girdinera.
They were SO. GOOD. I’d never had girdinera before, but it’s basically just spicy, pickled peppers and is a great substitution to pickles or peperoncini’s. They had a depth in their flavor that was a really nice addition. Brian and I both got them with the works which is just mayonnaise, mustard, shredded lettuce, tomato, paper-thin red onion slices, and their house dressing. What really stood out to me about this sandwich–besides the freshness of ingredients–was that dressing. It was really herby and aromatic and had more of a balsamic richness than a typical vinegar I come to expect from an Italian dressing. Also, I swear there was a hint of rosemary.
They had so many delicious-sounding sandwiches and the shop possessed such a homey, familial comfort, that I know I will be back. Honestly, places like BMH Italian are the reason I am doing the blog. I never would have tried it otherwise, and I know this will now become a staple in my sandwich repertoire.
OVERVIEW FOR THE LAZY:
Price: $7.75 for a 12 inch torpedo
So many options, such good prices.
Ambiance: I felt like I was walking on set in a Scorsese film. A+.
Sides: Lots of chips and sodas, and even some pasta salad sides available as well.
Second Trip Worthy? Most definitely. And you’ll get to virtually come along with me!
Overall rating: 11 out of 10 sandwiches! Really, it was that good.