Hoagie heaven

While surveying the carnage my friend and I left behind on the table at Someplace Else Deli & Bakery, 2310 N. Western, I thought about the mild rye bread used on some of the sandwiches. I pondered the sauerkraut — a condiment about which I have, at best, mixed feelings — which didn’t overpower the corned beef in the Reuben.

And I thought, “This is deli for beginners.”

The thing is, I don’t mean it as a pejorative. We’re in the middle of Oklahoma, after all. Not everybody (including, I should add, me) has been to Katz’s Deli in New York City. There are a lot of people around here whose deli experience begins at Subway and ends at the sliced-meat counter at Homeland.

Yet
here, in this tiny restaurant, they’re baking their own bread and
slicing up pastrami and corned beef and salami and making delicious
little sandwiches. And people are lining up to get them.

You
might assume it’s because the prices are low … and maybe you’re right.
Most are less than $4, which is kind of ridiculous. As Peggy Carty (who
owns the restaurant with her husband, David) told me, they probably
should raise prices, but it’s hard to do that to people who depend on
them for an affordable lunch.

But the price is only part of the draw. Someplace Else traffics in some classic and well-thought-out combinations.

Peggy
suggested we try the hoagie ($3.95), served up hot. At the heart of it
is a roll of sliced lunch meats. Ham, salami and capicolla with
provolone cheese. Up top, shredded lettuce and tomato. And that’s all
well and good, but the real draw is the river of diced pepperoncini
peppers that gives the whole thing a subtle, tangy heat.

While the price is a little higher, the prime rib sandwich ($4.95) with a side of horseradish
was definitely worth it. It’s not a mountain of meat, but I certainly
didn’t feel cheated. The bite of the horseradish went well with the
tender slices of beef and big ruffles of lettuce.

For those looking for
more of a deli experience, the pastrami sandwich ($3.95), with mustard
on rye, and the salami and provolone ($4.25) had the right balance of
strong flavors and chewy texture. Part of that is from the breads, which
have just enough tensile strength to hold the meat, but not enough to
offer a good set of teeth much resistance.

Should
the avocado and cream cheese sandwich ($4.55; get it with bacon — trust
me) be categorized as a dessert? Maybe. It might not be as sweet as the
cookies, but the creamy richness of the cheese and avocado and the
chewy crunch of the bacon would be a great endnote to any meal.

That
said, it’s hard to recommend leaving Someplace Else without a cookie.
Chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, chocolate sugar ($.28 per small cookie;
$.56 per large cookie): It’s hard to go wrong when everything tastes so
right. My personal favorite is the s’mores bar ($.56). My eyes rolled so
far back in my head on that one, people at the next table had to check I
wasn’t having a seizure.

So,
if “deli for beginners” is considered a bad thing, let me rephrase:
Someplace Else is a good spot for those of us with adventurous palates
to take our less-adventurous friends.

We’ll still get a good meal and, hopefully, they’ll find something that sparks their interest in bolder fare.

Oklahoma
Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive
aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or
service when appropriate.

Greg Elwell

This material falls under the archives category because it was imported from our previous website. It will eventually be filtered into the proper category as time allows.

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