MenuPlease: Village Deli is a Little Bit of New York

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.

Femme de Joie
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 or send her an email at femmedejoiefood@yahoo.com.
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7 Responses

  1. Avatar Biff says:

    If I may be so bold as to suggest before posting them, you open these photos in Photoshop and do a little automatic color balancing adjustment to make them look a bit more life like and palatable to the eye. They look like they were taken at the table under available light which normally gives them a yellow cast. With a bit of color balancing, you brighten the whites and neutrals which helps diminish the yellow overall.

  2. Femme de Joie Femme de Joie says:

    Dear Biff,

    Thank you for the suggestion. Right now Picasa (not ideal, but free) is the enhancer of choice, but someday Femme de Joie may splash out and purchase Photoshop. Thanks for reading.

    Cordially,

    Femme de Joie

  3. Avatar Sue says:

    You know what i'm yearning for…..a good old S.F. Hofbrau. I guess we'll have to wait.

    • Femme de Joie Femme de Joie says:

      Dear Sue,

      Just the mention of a SF Hofbrau makes M. de Joie yearn for Lefty O'Doul's and the fine sandwiches they serve up.

      Cordially,

      Femme de Joie

  4. Avatar VillageDeli says:

    Thanks so much for visiting our delicatessen! We appreciate your article and your feedback, and would like to address some of the things you stated.

    Our "clumsy" set-up works perfect for us. Would we like to have a little more space? Sure. But we make do with what we have. Our biggest goal is to provide fresh, made to order food. That is why you will always see us walking back and forth from the deli case, slicing meats to order. Yes, you will have to wait a little longer, but this isn't Subway where your meat is pre-sliced and pre-packaged. Everything we have is made in-house. Nothing out of a carton, side salads included. Lettuce is also cut fresh for each order. Pre-sliced lettuce browns quickly and just doesn't taste as good.

    Our Village Favorites, such as the Italian and the Long Island, can always be customized to a person's preference. You don't have to have the big sourdough french roll if it is too much bread for you. I, personally, don't like that much bread either. However, in keeping with the origin of the sandwiches, we make them true to form – Italian sandwiches rarely have much dressing, if any at all. Again, anything you want to customize, we will gladly do it for you. Something you crave and want us to carry? Let us know and we will see what we can do. We are here to provide good, fresh food at a great price with exceptional customer service.

    Thank you again for coming in – we hope to see you (and everyone else) in for lunch!

    • Femme de Joie Femme de Joie says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting. Femme de Joie does appreciate the fresh-made sandwiches and salads; it seemed to her while watching food being prepared that there might be a more efficient way to prep ingredients (for instance, having one staff member slice meat and cheese to order for someone else who would be prepping bread with toppings), but if it works for you, then more power to you.

      The point about the authenticity is well taken and appreicated. But M. de Joie imagines a customer coming in, ordering said sandwich and taking it away – then mumbling, "Dang, this sandwich is DRY!" And that is what they'll remember about the sandwich they got from Village Deli. Maybe a disclaimer on the menu ("mayo and mustard by request"), or when orders are taken?

      Best of luck to you and Village Deli, a good addition to downtown.

      Cordially,

      Femme de Joie

  5. Avatar Mary S. says:

    I may stop in and give them a try. Being from back east, I dream of an authentic New York deli. The closest thing I've experienced in Redding was the "old" San Francisco Deli. The ladies used to pile that pastrami up high.

    I hate to say it, but most people out west have no idea what a good deli sandwich consists of.