23 June, 2010
Neal’s Deli (Carrboro)Posted in : Dining in Carrboro - NC, Restaurants on by : The Gourmez
100 East Main Street
Hours: M-Sat, 7:30 to 4
On a whim after my writing group, I stopped at Neal’s Deli for lunch. They’ve gotten loads of press lately, most notably in the recent New York Times’ article on the Triangle’s local food culture. I’ve always eyed the inviting porch and umbrella when I walk by but hadn’t managed to be there at the same time as my stomach needed nourishment before.
Neal’s Deli serves lots of house-cured and cut meats in a variety of sandwiches from Italian subs and ruebens to marinated tunas and veggies. They also have some delicious-sounding, gourmet hot dog specials including one with fried apples and another with avocado salsa and chipotle Tabasco presently running. I’m not sure that all their bread comes from Guglhupf, but they do heavily feature their bretzel rolls.
The previously mentioned porch is great, and Neal’s Deli also offers a few tables inside their small shop that is covered in a seventies-style, green- and yellow-patterned design.
I decided to go traditional and ordered the Italian sub. It comes with milano salami, capocolla ham, either sweet and spicy peppers or banana peppers, lettuce, tomato, onion, and oil and vinegar.
The size of the sandwich was perfect; I hate being overwhelmed by massive amounts of food and then feeling wasteful if I can’t eat it all. There was even the right amount of meat for me, which means enough to sink your teeth into but not inches thick. The spice from the sweet and spicy peppers was very mild, so you might opt for the banana peppers if you like kick like I do. I also would have liked more vinegar and less oil on the sandwich, but otherwise, I was pleased with it immensely. Not being a huge meat eater, I have to say that their meat is extraordinary. It tastes like meat should, if that makes sense. It was a darn good sandwich without doing anything to try and impress me. I even liked the pickle because it wasn’t packed with salt.
I also had a cup ($2.50) of their soup of the day, cold creamed cauliflower with chives.
This was really good for a cauliflower fan like myself. The first spoonful tasted of nothing but cream, but then the cauliflower flavor crept over the edges of my tongue and said, “Hello, there.” It’s a thick, dense soup, and definitely refreshing for a hot day. The chives provided an essential savoriness for the very simple soup.
Simple is a great word for Neal’s Deli. The food I tried was simply done and simply good. I’m definitely going back for a hotdog. It’s worth noting that a lot of their sandwiches and dogs featured sauerkraut, for those of you who are big fans of that. I’m not, but how fresh and crisp theirs looked might almost convince me to try it someday.