Sherven Square, that block of Market Street between Tehama and Shasta, boasts a surprising number of restaurants within a short walking distance: Sandwichery, Grilla Bites, Fasolini’s Pizza, Los Gordos, La Cabana, Kobe’s, Maxwell’s, Fatboy’s BBQ. Last fall, Village Deli opened its doors too, right across the street from Old City Hall. It’s easy to drive right by and miss, but this pleasant little café downtown might be worth a stop.
The freshly painted interior, decorated with black-and-white posters of New York City, boasts a few tables with a counter and seats along one wall. Order at the deli to take away or be served at the tables. Service is friendly, though not especially fast, and that’s due to the clumsy set-up of the prep area. Employees have to continually walk back and forth past each other to reach the cold case, pull out the mortadella or roast beef, slice to order, then lug the meat back and replace it in the display case. The upside of this is that every sandwich is made fresh; no dried-out cold cuts are waiting around all day. The downside, of course, is that you might wait a bit for your sandwich.
Regular deli sandwiches (roast beef, ham, corned beef, etc.) are priced according to size — small: 4 ounces meat, 2 ounces cheese; large: 8 oz/4 oz; New Yorker: 12 oz/6 oz.
The Mediterranean Salad ($3.99/$6.49) was terrific: crisp mixed greens with Romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes, feta, kalamata olives and balsamic vinegar dressing was sharp and flavorful. Unfortunately the soup of the day, chicken with wild rice, wasn’t as successful. Cubes of white meat chicken became stringy and dry while simmering all day; the wild rice was tough and sank helplessly to the bottom of the cup.
The Long Island ($6.49/$10.49) is a triple-decker of turkey, corned beef, Russian dressing and cole slaw piled on toasted rye. The sweet-tart crunchy slaw was a great foil for salty corned beef. Beef-barley soup was also hearty, warming, and full of vegetables.
The Italian ($6.49/$10.49) was a bit of a disappointment. The meats and cheeses — dry salami, cotto salami, mortadella, hot coppa, and provolone with pepperoncinis, red onion, oil and vinegar — were lost inside that super-thick roll. It was quite a bit on the dry side and needed more juicy-ness and less bread. But the fillings had great flavor, so M. de Joie may give that Italian sandwich another try — on different bread with more spreads.
Chef salad ($4.49/$6.99) is a good value and satisfying. You know the drill on a chef’s salad: there’s nothing unusual here, but all ingredients were fresh and flavorful and the serving size was generous.
While Femme de Joie wasn’t crazy about everything she tried at Village Deli, the salads were winners and overall she feels it has potential to serve up some really fine sandwiches with a bit of feedback from customers about what’s good and not-so-good. Prices are reasonable and everything is made to order. When you’re downtown thinking about a tattoo or recording your debut CD, stop in and give them a try.
Village Deli, 1300 Market Street, Redding, CA. 530-241-8800, fax 530-245-0350. Open Monday-Friday 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Saturday 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Closed Sunday. No alcohol. No checks. Cash, cards. Street parking and a small parking lot behind (access from Shasta Street). Visit them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/thevillagedeliredding?v=info
Femme de Joie’s first culinary masterpiece was at age 4, when she made the perfect fried bologna sandwich on white bread. Since then she has dined on horse Bourguignon in France, stir-fried eel in London, and mystery meat in her college cafeteria, but firmly draws the line at eating rattlesnake, peppermint and Hamburger Helper. She lives in Shasta County at her country estate, Butterscotch Acres West. She is nearly always hungry. Visit MenuPlease for more.
A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.