Friday, June 10, 2011

Sandwiches In Howard County: The Bready Competition Pita & Rye Joins This Weekend

Corned beef and Italian from
New York Deli in Columbia
The new kosher deli Pita & Rye is working out the kinks and aiming for an official opening this Sunday morning, and that got me thinking about the sandwich landscape that the new joint is joining.

Taste is personal, and sandwiches are super-personal.  Just check the comments on prior Pita & Rye posts to see people split in their preferences for meat and bread.

But there are certainly some Howard County spots trying to put out exceptional sandwiches.  They're selling food that I couldn't just assemble from the stuff that I can buy at the supermarket -- and that's important because I can get okay bread and pretty-good meats to pack in my own brown bag.

Pita & Rye has two angles that appeal to me -- falafel and special corned beef.  As far as I know, no one else sells falafel sandwiches around here, and I'd love hot fried chick peas if they come with some flavorful salad and dressing.

I'd love great deli as well, although that is a matter of debate before you even eat the sandwich.  Check those comments and listen to my friends.  One guy loves the pickle.  One guy hates the pickle.  One guy says the bread is too soft.  One guy says the bread is just right.  Pita & Rye is going to make its own corned beef, which sounds cool.  I'm hoping they'll lean towards the flavorful side -- breads that you can't get and mustard with more zest than your average yellow stuff.

I'd love to know where people recommend for a sandwich.  These are my thoughts right now:
  • Bon Fresco is the ideal.  As I said, taste is personal so Bon Fresco goes the right way and serves consistently great sandwiches with a relatively small menu.  Fresh-baked breads.  High end Italian meats.  Roasted vegetables.  Potato salad.  Big flavors like olive tapanade and an assertive mustard.  Scan all the posts about the restaurant on Oakland Mills Parkway and then go try something delicious.
  • New York Deli sells my kind of corned beef.  It's not kosher, but it's packed with salty flavor and thick with the brittle shredding that reminds me of New York.  They use a marbled rye that seems pretty unique around here.  The Snowden River Parkway restaurant does a huge menu of sandwiches from gyros to cold cuts to ruebens.  It's very reasonably priced.  Personally, the bread and cold cuts at Bon Fresco makes it my place for an Italian sandwich.  But the New York Deli can't be beat on the corned beef, and it's other stuff is certainly worth trying.\
  • You should always look for the offbeat -- like the bulgogi panini at Riverside Coffee in Columbia.  Or for restaurants that have great sandwiches on the menu -- like the Cuban at Cuba de Ayer in Burtonsville.
  • The great hole remains bahn mi.  They're so delicious, and it seems like something that would sell well.
There are other good sandwiches.  Pepperjacks Deli in Laurel looks ramshackle, but it's a cozy takeout shop with their own bread and good fillings.  And, of course, we have chains like Cosi, Jimmy John's, etc.

Where do you go for sandwiches?  I feel like people have talked up the Charter Deli in Columbia.

Pita & Rye's official opening will be at 10:45 am Sunday.  There will be a ribbon-cutting, and you can dive into the deli or the falafel sandwiches.

Pita & Rye
8180D Maple Lawn Blvd. 
Fulton, MD 20759

Near: This in the Maple Lawn development.  It is just off Rte 216 just west of Rte 29.


Anonymous said...

Corned beef sandwich was good, not great, but rather pricey. $8.49 a sandwich is high.

Anonymous said...

$8.49 for house made very high quality corned beef is a steal.

Yes, some of the bread has a little ways to go, but just a little. I actually let the owner know and he is aware of it, and is working on getting it right.

Until Pita and Rye opened, you couldn't get real deli in this area. As a NJ transplant, I've craved a real deli in this area for years, so to put Bon Fresco and Riverside even in the same category, is just a joke.

Anonymous said...

We had lunch at Pita and Rye last weekend. I liked the falafel sandwich. My husband tried to order shawarma, then beef kabob, but neither was available. Then the woman at the counter suggested pastrami. He liked it. They obviously have a few kinks to work out, but it's promising.

Last summer, I had a sandwich at Bon Fresco that was the epitome of great simple food. Mozzarella and tomatoes. I'm not ordering it again until tomato season.

Cate in Columbia said...

I had the corned beef Tuesday. Bread seemed as though it was either toasted or just really dry. Also had a potato knish- pastry was hard as if it had sat too long. I will probably give it another try but will eat in- I discovered the problems once I was back in my office.

RDAdoc said...

Two of my favorite sandwiches in Howard Co are the London broil sandwich at Bon Fresco and the grilled vegetable sandwich at Coal Fire Pizza. yummy!

Anonymous said...

It's been like a week now...isn't it time for more Kloby's or Facci's posts? I'm having withdrawal.

KimD said...

I'll add a Kloby's comment. We'd never been there before Memorial Day weekend. We had a coupon, so we got a free pulled pork sandwich with our rib order. The ribs were meh - dry and chewy - but the sandwich. Oh, the sandwich! It was one of the best pork BBQ sandwiches I've ever had, anywhere.

little audrey said...

Bon Fresco still rocks, and their $6.50 combo is still one of the best deals around, but I can tell that lately they're cutting corners. They used to give you a huge slab of chicken as wide as the bun, but a couple weeks ago, my sandwich had two little pieces that could've fit in my palm. I hope that they, Pita & Rye (who are far from me, but I'll try them if I'm in that area) and other indies can survive the rough economic waters.

Anonymous said...

I love the London Broil at Bon Fresco.

I'll be heartbroken if anything happens to it. I will say though, each time I've been there it has been packed with people.

dzoey said...

Just tried the pastrami (with mustard on seeded rye) at Pita & Rye. Very tasty. It's a decent rye bread which works well with the pastrami, but not at the level of NYC or Great Neck (Bruces!).

They make a few things in house. They have both home-made and regular corned beef and turkey. Today, on official opening day, they ran out of all the home-made meats - a good sign. I will go back some other time to taste their home made corned beef.

I did not think the prices unreasonable for certified kosher + Maple Lawn location.

The people there were really nice, though still figuring some things out. It felt relaxed and down home - like if your cousins opened a deli.

They are not yet selling meats by the pound. They're waiting on the State of Maryland to supply them a scale. Hopefully soon....

Anonymous said...

It's been like a week now...isn't it time for Anonymous to bitch about the number of Kloby's or Facci's posts? I'm having withdrawal.

Morty Abzug said...

Charter Deli carries bagels with lox, knishes, and Doctor Brown, in addition to staples like corned beef and pastrami. The food isn't perfect. But I like them anyway.

N8tiveNYer said...

Thanks so much for all the great info. I am learning so much from eveyone. Moving from NOVA to HOCO next month and look forward to trying the places and food I've been reading about--

Porter said...

You can get falafel at Mimi's Kabob in Clarksville (if you ask for it). That said, it doesn't compete with their other great food.