Kicking It Old School in West Seattle

Front RegisterYesterday I had the pleasure of visiting the Husky Deli in the West Seattle Junction with a friend and her son. Full disclosure: I’ve been spending a LOT of time in West Seattle lately, and I’ve been loving every minute of it. For a longtime Ballard resident, West Seattle’s ample, free parking and relatively sleepy weekday atmosphere are a like a bracing breath of salty sea air.

Established in 1932, the Husky Deli is sort of an icon in the Junction. While the ice cream is wildly popular, especially in summer, the weekday lunch crowd is all about the sandwiches.

There are a lot of options here to build your own masterpiece. The deli counter is stocked with a mouth-watering array of fresh meats, cheeses, veggies and condiments. Someone here has carefully considered what makes a good sandwich combo, which I appreciate. Therefore you might find yourself drawn to one of the several cold offerings, or the many kinds of grilled panini. The best news is that with the option to get a half sandwich, you can feel free to mix and match.

To try something novel, I went with the special of the day, which was a straightforward tuna salad with the genius addition of crunchy, spicy, Mama Lil’s marinated red peppers. To round out my sandwich experience, I opted for half a Turkish Delight, a flavor-packed combo of turkey, cream cheese and mango chutney. My friends opted for the Ultimate Grilled Cheese, which despite incorporating “green things” in the form of basil, was given a kid rating of ‘really good’. High praise indeed.

The atmosphere at Husky Deli is kind of weird and wonderful. Much like eating in an old-timey grocery store, they have a sandwich counter complete with bar stools where you can enjoy your lunch and maybe even get a little peace and quiet while you watch people bustling around the Junction.

My only complaint would be the slightly stressful ordering situation: where does the line start? why are there 20 people behind the counter but nobody’s taking anyone’s order?  After 80+ years in business, these are things I would expect they’ve had time to work out. Give me a system, and I’ll follow it. To the letter. I’ve been to the Soup Nazi, I know how lines work.

Either way, I know I’ll be visiting West Seattle soon and coming back to Husky Deli to try some more delicious combos.

Husky Deli & Catering
4721 California Avenue Southwest
Seattle, WA 98116

Uncovering an Ancient Chinese/Vietnamese/American Sandwich Secret in the ID

Sub-Sand is housed in an unassuming brick building between Jackson and Jefferson on 6th Avenue South in the I.D. Good luck finding parking around here, you’ll need it. Or you might be lucky enough to work nearby. Just remember that if you do need to pay, it’ll be worth your while.

Don’t let the outside fool you. Once inside, you’ll be transported to a delightful mash-up of Asian and American sandwich delights. The very personable proprietor, Tom Dang, is of Vietnamese and Chinese descent, and his menu reflects this. He and his family/staff work feverishly behind their spotless counter to painstakingly create fresh, interesting takes on the bahn mi slash sub hybrid.

On the day of my visit, the sandwich Special of the Day was Seaweed and Tofu. Right? Not brave enough to go there, I decided to try a basic barbequed chicken. Fresh, glazed chicken breast meat, crunchy lettuce, tomatoes and special sauce. My sandwich buddy went with the barbequed pork. I’d love to tell you about it, but I didn’t get a single bite.

My sandwich was a wonderful mixture of crunchy vegetables, creamy sauce, delicious fresh chicken, and a kick of heat from fresh jalapenos. The toothsome bread is an ode to french bread everywhere, certainly baked that morning or close to it. Have I mentioned the best part? All this for, I am not joking, $3.99(!)

Despite the delicious cuisine, another really great quality of Sub-Sand is the neighborhood-y ambiance. Mr. Dang chats with you, serves your sandwich on a plate, and asks you how you liked it. Did I mention this sandwich is $3.99?

A couple of caveats, and they are minor. One: eating space is limited. A rumour is afoot that they will be doubling their space soon, which would be a good thing, unless you enjoy eavesdropping on your table-mates/new best friends.

Two: my issue with any bahn mi-sized sandwich. One sometimes isn’t quite filling enough, and two is just too much food. I suggest supplementing with a little side snack, like the delicious, freshly prepared spring rolls, or something else small and snacky. Luckily, Sub Sand has an extensive menu of non-sandwich options to help you.

It’s obvious from the lunch crowd that Sub-Sand is a neighborhood fixture, and popular with everyone from young Asian students, start-up folks, and local government workers. I knew I’d hit paydirt when the neighborhood beat cops came in for a chat.

In fact, eating at Sub-Sand is a little like being in a musical right before everyone breaks into song. Definitely a throwback to what I sometimes think of as a bygone, locally-owned, sandwich shoppe era. I left satisfied, with a song in my heart, and plans to come back soon for the barbequed pork.

Sub Sand
419 6th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 682-1267