Enter Sammy's, turn right, and you can call out to the deli man for a workaday sandwich, assembled to your liking. Turn left and you'll find a second counterman and a second bill of fare from the owner's first home, Lebanon. This business plan — building on a going concern by preparing food from back home — has been emulated by dozens of Mexican markets (notably El Atoradero) and many Korean greengrocers (such as 104 Broadway Farm). The Chinese-run Soy Bean Chen Flower Shop may be another example; it's unclear to me if the owners of the flower shop and the tofu kiosk are one and the same.
Some of Sammy's Lebanese menu, including (apparently) all of the sweets, has been prepared in advance, but many savory items are made to order; a dozen seats offer room to enjoy them. Shown: a sujuk sandwich ($5.75), which married spicy sausage, freshly grilled, to tahini, pickle, tomato, onion, and parsley; and a bowl of fattoush ($4), a mixed green salad topped with toasted bits of pita. The best part of the salad, noted the counterman, is the dressing — tart with pomegranate molasses, vibrant with sumac.
A Taste of Lebanon at Sammy's Gourmet
1404 Madison Ave. (97th-98th Sts.), Manhattan
www.SammysGourmetNewYork.com (only for deli fare)