The counterman asked me before I could ask him: Why is a balboa called a balboa? Order this hot sandwich and you can count on swiss cheese melted over roast beef; sometimes you'll also get onions, mushrooms, bacon, or the like. Usually it's served on garlic bread, though occasionally the kitchen will hold the garlic and supply of cup of beef juice instead, for dipping. Longo's sticks with the classics: just roast beef, swiss, and a poppy-seed roll given the garlic-bread treatment, and generously so ($6). You can get it as a hero, too.
Despite sightings as far afield as Florida and Texas, the balboa is largely confined to the Northeast, which lends some faint support to claims of a connection with the Philly cheesesteak, and with Rocky Balboa. In my gut I've always suspected this association, but the evidence I've uncovered so far is thin. Does any EIT reader know more? The spelling of the sandwich — big "B" or a little "b" — is another question entirely; that one I'll duck.
Longo's Park Deli (also known as the Park Delicatessen)
203 South Regent St. (at West St.), Port Chester, New York
Open seven days, although the grill shuts down at 2:00