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This week I ate at Roma Deli 1 & Restaurant located at 5755 Spring Mountain Road. Even though it is located in the heart of Chinatown make no mistake, this restaurant is all about good Italian food.

The reason for the number 1 behind Roma Deli is because there is another Roma Deli but this is the first and it has a new owner or should I say owners. Roma Deli originally opened in 1999 but was recently purchased by a group of three partners – Todd Brunson, Max Pescatori and Fabio Coppola. All three are professional poker players and, yes, if the name Todd Brunson sounds familiar it should as he is the son of Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson or “The Godfather of Poker.”

Anyone who plays poker knows who Doyle Brunson is but right now Todd is more popular with me because Roma Deli 1 delivers great Italian food. When you are at Roma Deli 1 there is always a good chance you will run into a poker pro or two. We know poker players like to make big bluffs but I can tell you there is no bluffing here, as the food is excellent.

If you want to get the party started right I would order the Prosciutto & Mozzarella appetizer. There is nothing better than good prosciutto, fresh mozzarella and tomatoes. This is a great starter for your meal yet it’s not too heavy so won’t fill you up. On one of my visits I had a dish you won’t find in a lot of Italian restaurants. It’s an old school dish that my mom would make, so seeing it on the menu I had to order it. I’m talking about the Braciola and you better be hungry as it’s huge.

I’ll admit I had to take a doggie bag home as I couldn’t finish it all. Braciola is rolled beef that is stuffed with prosciutto, provolone, raisins and pine nuts served in Roma’s special sauce. This dish came with a side of pasta. Another of my favorite items on the menu is the Gnocchi. I get mine served with their meat sauce, which is one of the best in the city and I’m picky when it comes to the sauce.

The restaurant is also open for lunch and they have several great sandwiches on the menu with my favorite being the Roma Sandwich. 

It consists of Prosciutto, fresh Mozzarella, roasted peppers and olive oil. You can try a pasta dish for lunch and not need a nap afterward.

For dessert I was stuffed so I let my wife pick something she likes – Tiramisu, and she was very pleased. Rumor has it Roma Deli 1 is going to make the current location bigger as this place usually get’s quite busy. 

The Poker Boys have a hit on their hands. The food is as good as it was before, if not better, with big portions at very reasonable prices. I’m all-in with Roma Deli 1 as I give them a rating of 3.75 forks. 

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