If you’re going to go to Lexi’s On Third for lunch, you might as well order the ridiculously large Lexi’s Tower ($14). Life is short, and epic edibles that come in the form of mammoth sandwiches are few and far between.
The Tower is two slices of grilled rye that are filled with giant heaps of meat: it’s an inch each of corned beef, pastrami, turkey and roast beef. The sandwich has so much meat, it can just barely balance itself upright without tumbling over.
There are a few other things that help hold the tower together: a skinny little sliver of tomato and a piece of lettuce. There’s also a lush slather of mayo and some melted swiss cheese to help glue the bread to the meat pile.
Ordering the Tower and eating the Tower are two distinctly different events.
Ordering it is easy. Eating the sandwich is not easy. The human jaw isn’t designed to engulf something that’s the height of a Coke can, so a fork is in order. And while finger-food reigns supreme, the bright side of utensils is that the fork-approach makes it easier to appreciate the quality of the deli slices, Each variation in the sandwich has its own unique, savory flavor and natural (unprocessed) texture; it’s all moist and fresh.
For those who fail to see the joys of wretched excess, Lexi’s has a menu with plenty of other perfectly edible options. The big menu hangs above the order counter, and the employees (though fast moving) are engaging and helpful when it comes to making all-important dining decisions.
The Roast Beef Melt ($10) is not quite as intimidating as Lexi’s Tower, though it’s still quite large. It showcases thin slices of meat that are defined more by their beefiness, than by ordinary deli-saltiness. The slices still look like meat, as opposed to looking like some plastic, brown, floppy stuff.
The Classic Reuben ($10) is also nicely executed. Here, the corned beef is the star: a mountain of pinkish, cured wonderfulness. It’s teamed with classic sauerkraut and swiss on some very mild rye bread.
Lexi’s chicken salad has a devout following, and it’s an appealingly old-school sort of concoction. The finely shredded chicken is held together nicely with mayo, and the only chunks in the mix come from little bits of celery. It works well in the Deli Salad Melt ($6.50).
Like the chicken salad, the vegetable salads feel a little retro too. Perhaps it’s the mandarine oranges, a throwback fruit if ever there was one. The orange sections share turf on the Asian Salad ($6.50) with more vintage salad items such as Chow Mein noodles and water chestnuts. Plus, there’s some red cabbage and a sweet dressing.
For less of a salad commitment, there is the serviceable Garden Salad ($3.50). It has greens, tomatoes and cucumbers – it’s a decent side dish.
Or, for those whose favorite vegetable is the potato, there’s always a side of classic fries ($2.00). They’re crunchy, and just a shade thicker than fast-food fries. The Cajun Fries ($2.50) make a fun variation, with a dash of a cumin-y mix of seasoning.
Lexi’s does breakfast too, it opens at 7am on weekdays with a breakfast menu that includes egg dishes, pancakes, lots of breakfast sandwiches, and sides that range from muffins to grits. After 10:30, the lunch menu reigns til 4pm. You’ll find Lexi’s On Third at the corner of Third and Broad at 100 E. Broad Street.
For more information, visit www.lexisonthird.com.
Photos by Mollie Lyman of www.fornixphotography.com.