There’s been a lot of praise heaped upon Torrisi Italian Specialties, and of course that’s made me curious. Could it really live up to the hype? The dinner service is not for me, since they serve plenty of meat and don’t make substitutions, but lunch is another matter. I met up with Donny and our friend Phaedra for lunch a few weeks ago, and I’m happy to say that the food really does deserve the praise. Torrisi is set up like an old-school Italian-American deli, though with premium ingredients and higher prices, and it’s in the heart of Little Italy. We managed to snag a table, and then the waitress told us that we had to order our food at the counter and she’d bring it to us. It was a little confusing, but we managed to get our food in short order. The eggplant parm was one of the best I’ve ever tasted (though to be honest I expected it to be a sandwich rather than a platter). The thinly sliced eggplant all but melted in my mouth, and the sauce was wonderfully savory. I also enjoyed the side of golden beets that I ordered. Donny and Phaedra were equally enamored of their sandwiches and sides. I can’t wait to go back and try their potato & egg sandwich. As far as I’m concerned, Torrisi lives up to the hype.