Storefront Deli is another establishment with more than its fair share of hype, and the reputation is not entirely undeserved. It’s run by the same people responsible for Salt’s Cure, which I understand to be a fine restaurant that routinely puts out all manner of delicious, exciting food. Storefront Deli, as the name indicates, is an attempt to give that spirit an everyday sort of veneer, to make a supremely innovative potato salad available all the time, on demand. The ingredients are lovingly sourced and even more lovingly prepared, with plenty of house-cured this and that. In the Mousa’s case it’s salami cotto, bologna, sopressata and provolone on a fairly-soft roll with hots, red onion and lettuce.
This is a very good sandwich, and it costs $12. Sandwiches in Los Angeles are expensive relative to a lot of other places, and there have been plenty of sandwiches on this blog that cost that and more where I haven’t found the price worth mentioning. It’s worth mentioning here, though, for the very simple reason that this sandwich is almost certainly not worth $12.
Some time ago I covered what I consider the platonic ideal of the grinder, and this sandwich should not be confused with that one. This one is dealing with more subtle flavors, putting forth a much smaller serving and asking the consumer to pay attention to the details. Those details are exceptionally well crafted, and the result is likely as good as this sort of sandwich is likely to get. But they’re still just cold cuts. Some associates may disagree with me on this, but at the end of the day bologna is still bologna. The ceiling on lunch meat just isn’t that high, and that isn’t likely to change despite the efforts of well-intentioned artisans.
So the thing is that the $12 price may be entirely justified. It may even be necessary—making money in the restaurant game is no small task, and I begrudge no one their need to set prices where they need to in order to succeed. With the highest-quality meats being brought in, and much time and care put into their preparation, it seems reasonable to me that this sandwich would be more expensive than a similar sort of sandwich that doesn’t have the detailed quite so well thought out. But the question of whether or not the price is justified has to come second to the question of whether or not it’s worth it. In my estimation, it’s not. All the care and attention in the world does not save cold cuts from being cold cuts, and if all that care and attention means you end up with a $12 sandwich, I’l be seeking my sandwiches elsewhere.