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Restaurant Review: Short North Deli

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Restaurant Review: Short North DeliAll photos by Lauren Sega
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When the news broke that a traditional deli was making its way to the Short North, there was much celebration. While the zone seems to have ample taco, Italian and Cameron Mitchell options, deli fare is less well-represented.

Enter Short North Deli. It’s a pretty non-nonsense, streamlined operation, with a big, open kitchen, order counter, and utilitarian chairs and tables on the side. On the wall are oversized paintings depicting iconic Short North items such as the Pride parade and the neighborhood’s lighted arches. And of course, there’s a big television too.

You can buy deli meats and cheeses by the pound, or assemble them in the house sandwich offerings. The menu board affixed to the wall displays the names of the sandwiches, but not their contents. To figure out what you want to eat, it’s a good idea to grab a paper menu by the cash register.

The absolute favorite item so far is the Gallery Hop ($10.99). It was originally ordered as an afterthought (it’s on the second page, printed on the back of the menu), so fate was favorable that day. Plainly, Gallery Hop inspired one of those moments when you put down the sandwich after the first bite in order to declare pure culinary mastery. Slices of Italian bread that have been grilled with garlic butter are filled with melted swiss, caramelized onions, herbed mayo, roast beef and lean slices of bacon that harmonize with each bite. While bacon is an easy sell, its use here is pitch-perfect in enhancing the sandwich with its smokey brine. There’s a little dipping au jus too. It gilds the lily.

It’s hard for the rest of the line-up to compete with that opening afterthought. The other sandwiches are likable enough, though. Consider the bargain-priced Summer in Goodale Park ($6.99). Grilled whole-grain bread, layers of thin-sliced chicken deli meat (not too processed), provolone, alfalfa sprouts and tomato slices. It works.

You can hit the roast beef again with a Short North Trolley Car ($10.99). This time, it’s piled on a chewy split baguette with a sharper white cheddar and the zing of horseradish dressing. It’s likable enough. It’s worth knowing that while the house roast beef is described as “medium-rare,” its non-pink hue suggests it’s seen a little more heat.

For aficionados of cured meats, there is the likable, pizza-esque Italian Village ($7.99). It’s a comforting melange of pepperoni, capicola, and salami, finished with familiar companions mozzarella, tomato sauce and marinated tomatoes.

Not everything on the menu is meat-centric. There’s a veggie sandwich as well as an arty peanut-butter based concoction on the menu. There are also side salads, and the house carrot salad is right up there with that first sandwich. It makes you want to order a big bowl for binge-ing, as the serving size is more in the ramekin range. The salad holds strands of carrots mixed with quinoa and raisins and almonds tied together with a piquant dressing. There’s also a pleasant corn salad that teams the kernels with diced peppers. It’s hard to compete with the carrot stuff, though.

All in all? Reasonable prices, good sandwiches — it’s not a Subway, so know it can take a minute for the team to build your order. You can find it at 841 N. High St. and online at facebook.com/shortnorthdeli.

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