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April 01, 2005

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Publication Date: Friday, April 01, 2005

Quick Bites Quick Bites (April 01, 2005)

The spot: Country Deli The dish: Located as it is in the middle of Shoreline Business Park, Country Deli offers nothing in the way of atmosphere. But you will find satisfying sandwiches that'll fill you up for less than $6. The deli also features green, fruit and pasta salads and daily specials such as lasagna and enchiladas. Cookies, slices of cake and a pan of brownies fresh from the oven tempt you at the cash register. The digs: The restaurant looks and feels like a middle school gym, but on sunny days you can eat outside on a relatively pleasant patio. A few trees provide a buffer between diners and busy Shoreline Boulevard. The diners: Country Deli draws the pass-card crowd. Workers arrive on foot or in cars in groups of two or three from Siemens, Google and other companies in the office park. The service: You order from and pay at the counter, then take your food with you to a table -- or back to the office. The guys behind the counter are super-efficient; they'll produce a hot sandwich in about a minute. Most of the customers are familiar with the menu and want to eat in a hurry, so if you're taking your time deciding, step out of the line. I tried: The triple-decker California club ($5.75); Jerusalem express ($5.25), a falafel sandwich with eggplant; and hot barbecue beef sandwich ($5.25), thin slices of beef and cheese toasted on a French roll and topped with barbecue sauce. For sides, I had a basic small green salad ($3.25) as well as spinach and feta pasta salad, fruit salad, brownie and carrot cake (all $1.75). The best was: The California club is served on toasted whole-wheat bread, sporting turkey breast, thick-cut bacon and plenty of tomato and lettuce -- a meal-in-a-sandwich. With its perfect balance of crispy lettuce, salty bacon and mild turkey, the sandwich made for a fine variation on the classic BLT. Could be better: The Jerusalem express, a re-interpretation of the falafel. It didn't quite hold together. Rather than fill a pita with falafel and fixings, Country Deli slices the pita in half so it's like two tortillas, then places a layer of falafel, fried eggplant, lettuce and tahini between them. The result was a dry and difficult-to-eat meal. On the side: The fruit salad looked unpromising in its plastic to-go container but proved to be full of crisp apple pieces and fresh pineapple. The green salad was also good, with its assertive, fresh lettuce mix and sweet cherry tomatoes. Don't miss the brownies, which are so rich, they're almost fudge. You get your choice: chewy edge piece or gooey middle piece. Thirst quenchers: Pull your drink from the refrigerators before you order. You'll find the usual sodas plus a good selection of Snapple drinks, juices and Calistoga ($1 to $1.40). Bang for the buck: Country Deli offers respectable workday food at a very decent price. Even if you really pile it on with a drink, salad and a dessert, you'll get out of there for less than $10. The details: Name: Country Deli; Address: 1674 N. Shoreline; Phone: (650) 968-5337; Hours: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mon.-Fri. -- Mandy Erickson

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