When I first heard about Harry’s Deli, my first instinct was “how good can a sandwich be” — right? Wrong! I’d first seen all the great reviews on www.yelp.com and as usual I was skeptical and wanted to wait a bit before going, after the hype dies down if you will, but that day never came and so, I embarked on this deli journey with two of my foodie/blogger friends for lunch. I’d heard so much about the Chicken DiGiorgio (pictured) and the Ribeye steak sandwiches so I knew that these were definitely on my items to try. I was happy that there were four of us so we could order a bunch of things to share.
“Harry” was not the middle-eastern dude I had imagined in my head, but rather, a personable Korean fella who was definitely passionate about food. The sandwiches he offers not only blows sandwich shops out of the water, but he takes it up a notch by using quality ingredients and making everything from scratch — and by that I mean, he even makes his own mayo!!
We started with the tomato basil soup, something my blogger (Alosha’s Kitchen) friend had been raving about for weeks now. Creamy, chunky yet incredibly light, this tomato soup was what you would expect to find in the kitchens of gourmet cooks! You could taste the chunks of tomatoes and the cream that brings it all together, but it wasn’t heavy and it wasn’t thick. This was the perfect accompaniment to any sandwich, hot or cold! Heavenly!
Meanwhile, my other blogger friend (The Michelin Project) arrived and ordered the pull-pork sandwich, sits down with us and we start digging into what was already on the table. Ribeye steak was ordered medium and even though it arrived on the rare side, it was still very tasty. Ordinarily, when I am faced with rare meat in restaurants, I tend to feel disparaged and not want to eat it because most restaurants won’t serve you top quality meat and your rare steak ends up tasting and smelling really gross. I was a bit skeptical at first, but the minute I took a bite into this sandwich, all my thoughts dissipated and I found myself enjoying the meat even in its rare state. The accompanying cumin aioli (or that’s what I thought it was supposed to be) lacked cumin flavor and tasted vaguely like any ordinary aioli I make at home. I would’ve liked a stronger garlic or cumin flavor to it, anything to pack a bit of a punch.
The chicken sandwich was served in a ciabatta roll and it was the perfect choice for this piece of succulent breaded delight. Dear “Alosha” did say she would’ve liked more basil on this and I fully agree with her! The sandwich was pretty damn good and the crevices of the bread soaked up every little bit of juice the chicken breast was emitting, but I like my food strong and a bit more of everything — sauce, basil — would’ve taken it to another level.
“Michelin Project”s pulled pork sandwich arrived and surprisingly, I actually really liked it! I generally am not a fan of pulled pork, let alone the barbecue sauce it is often served with due to its sweetness, but oh Harry!! I really like your tangy sauce — REALLY! This attests to again, making things from scratch and not using something out of a bottle or a jar.
Kudos to Harry and his team for providing us with a very satisfying lunch and for not kicking us out when we sat there for an additional hour and half gossiping away!
PS: Came back to get the tomato basil soup and when I brought it home, my kid took it away from me! It was THAT good!
Harry’s Deli, 17881 Sky Park Circle, Irvine, CA 92614. Tel: 949-261-2116