Close to home
After decades as bastions of franchised fast eats, mall food courts are courting local, independent upstarts. Meadowood Mall has added a handful of indy purveyors, including Nana and Pop’s Eatery.
There’s a selection of salads and kid bites, but it was the menu’s curious note, “all sandwiches come with cream cheese,” that caught our attention. Apparently, the word “all” was being used in a less than global sense. Mayo and mustard are available upon request.
Sandwiches are served with a dill pickle spear and choice of mustard potato or pesto macaroni salads, bagged chips, or an upgrade to steak fries for an additional $1.50. The side salads were pretty good, with the potato being my favorite. It was quite mustardy, but with enough vinegar snap for balance, plenty of egg and celery and just enough seasoning. The pesto salad was very light, with just a hint of garlic and Italian herbs—nothing fancy, but suitable.
Boosting the side action was an order of steak fries ($4) with cheese sauce, chili and sliced jalapeño. There were plenty of peppers, chili and cheese. In fact, there were more toppings than fries. The sauce and chili both tasted canned, but I don’t order a guilty pleasure and expect it to be gourmet. It certainly did the trick, though I wished for a few more fries to sop up the pool of spicy, leftover goo.
We ordered a Philly cheesesteak ($9.99) with smoked beef, provolone cheese, grilled onion, bell pepper and horseradish mustard sauce on a hoagie roll. The toasty roll had a nice bit of chew to it, and though the smoke and horseradish were a nice combo, the texture of the meat was inconsistent. Some bites were chewy and dry, while others were tender and downright delicious.
As with the cheesesteak, the pastrami is smoked in-house. We chose to try both a pastrami reuben ($8.99) with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and thousand island dressing, and a hot pastrami ($8.99) with provolone, lettuce, tomato and red onion. We ordered both on light rye bread. The flavor of the pastrami really stood out, but the texture was dry and chewy. Think thick cut, slightly underdone bacon in texture. The reuben was greasy to the touch. If it weren’t for the extra effort required to chew through these, the flavors in both sandwiches would make them hands-down winners.
A roll stuffed with thin sliced turkey ($8.99), avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato and red onion with mayo and mustard was quite good, with decent turkey and crispy bacon. Also good was a chicken salad sandwich ($8.99) on white bread with chopped chicken, red onion, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo, topped with bacon, lettuce and tomato. This deli staple can, so often, be terribly bland, but I’d order this nicely seasoned version again.
Last up was a chicken melt ($8.99) featuring grilled chicken breast, pepper jack, green onion cream cheese, lettuce, tomato and red onion on rye. The chicken appeared to have been marinated, then served hot off the grill. It was quite moist, and the combination of flavors and textures really worked well together—way beyond average for a grilled chicken sandwich and maybe the overall winner of our meal.