Lunch $10 and Under at Chompie's
|The egg salad sammie, a New York deli classic.|
It was love at first sight. The mile-high sammies; the bakery cases crammed with rugalach and linzer tarts; Chompie's has everything that made a New York style Jewish deli great. Not much has changed since then. There are a few more Chompie's locations in the Valley now, and the Tempe branch is open later. The prices are a little higher than I remember, but the portions are still huge.
Many of the sandwiches clock in at more than ten bucks a piece, like the classic corned beef for $12.29 or the 5-Town Special Triple Decker with turkey, bacon, avocado and jack cheese for $13.79. The good news is that standard (non triple-decker) sandwiches come in half sizes -- and trust us, half is enough for most appetites.
Favorites include the half hot meatloaf sandwich ($7.49) and smoked whitefish ($8.29). Of course, you can always score an order of mini potato pancakes for less than seven bucks or a Jewish slider with lean brisket for $3.99. Most of the breakfast menu items also come in under budget; we're especially fond of the corned beef hash ($8.99) and the Arizona Benedict with eggs, honey turkey, tomato and avocado slices ($9.49).
Enticed by the daily potato soup, we opted for a cup of the creamy chowder and a half egg salad sandwich with bacon. A good-sized hunk of sandwich arrived with a steaming bowl of creamy white soup topped with two bagel crisps. You can't have a New York deli without bagels showing up somewhere.
The soup was flavorful but lightly spiced, relying on the thick chunks of starchy potato for natural flavor. It hit the spot on a chilly day ("Arizona chilly," which means about 65. This former New Yorker should be ashamed). The egg salad was equally enjoyable, with chunks of egg white and well-balanced mayo portions. There was so much salad that it oozed out of the soft, fresh bread every time we bit in. Crisp bacon added a smoky flavor.