The slow cooked brisket sandwich is one of the best sandwiches in town. The meat is tender and flavorful, well complemented by the creamy horseradish sauce. And they use smoked mozzarella instead of swiss, which adds body and depth of flavor. The arugula provides the necessary bitterness to keep the sandwich from being too rich. And the bread is a fresh French roll that keeps its shape. Awesome.
The Italian sandwich is also a treat, although a little inconsistent. It’s got two kinds of salami, pepperoni, lettuce, tomato, thinly sliced red onion, provolone, pepperoncini and Italian dressing on a French roll. The key to this sandwich is that you need to have all the ingredients onboard, especially the vegetables, in order to make it work. And when all the ingredients are in there, the flavors and textures are like a symphony for the tastebuds. Unfortunately, if they forget to put in the pepperoncini, you quickly realize that without that ingredient, the sandwich is quite flat.
What makes the meatball sandwich stand out is they use fine grind meat for the meatballs, and the meatballs are small and cut into bite sized pieces. This makes it easier to eat (a real plus), and allows for the seasoning of the meatballs to be more out front, instead of being lost in the sauce. The sauce is a tomato arrabiata, but there’s very little detectable spiciness. It has the requisite tomato flavor, but it’s lighter than the rich tomato sauces you find on pizzas or in some Italian restaurants. I think they go light on the tomato paste. The cheese melted over the top is also designed to make it easier to eat insofar as it’s not gobbed all over the sandwich and bread and wrapper and bag, etc. And surprisingly, the roll didn’t get all soggy during the drive home.
They also have two salads. The orzo salad has finely chopped red onion, celery, feta cheese and Italian dressing, and the potato salad is slightly spicy, and has quartered red potatoes. Both are fine, but it's really about the sandwiches.
The place is tiny. Call ahead if you need to pick up more than a couple of sandwiches.
Tamarind Ave. Deli
1471 Tamarind Ave. (Corner of Sunset, 4 blocks east of Vine, across from Arby’s)