Three Fridays ago – that is how far we are backed up right now! – I had my first solo lunch with the baby. Typically, I picked a place that’s really not as baby-seat friendly as would have been ideal for one parent, but I did not know that when I picked it! This was Marie’s first week back at work, and so, on one of my short days, the baby and I stopped by for a flying visit and a few hugs to give Mommy a nice little break from her crazy day, and then we set about finding someplace in Dunwoody to get something to eat when she had to get back to work.
I picked Alon’s based on its Urbanspoon ranking. I don’t know that I had ever heard of it before. It’s the second location for this small market that serves up some terrific sandwiches. The original is in Virginia-Highlands, and Neal tells me that the dessert display that I passed tastes every bit as decadent and wonderful as it looks. Between that and the very impressive cheese counter, I was certain to tell Marie that there was a pretty stunning selection of treats just around the corner from her office.
I think that Alon’s moved in to the space that had been occupied by Eatzi’s for many years. It’s a pretty cavernous room, and it is completely packed with counter space. If a guest is looking for lunch, they will enter through a patio, the blistering heat regulated by several ceiling fans, navigate an unavoidable logjam of people entering and trying to pay at the same place, and then work towards the back, where the sandwiches are made. I will agree with my fellow blogger Evan Mah, aka The Toothfish, who observed that the prices are a little lower than most high-end delis while serving up considerably superior food.
I ordered a hot pastrami sandwich, and I don’t know whether I’ve ever had one this good. The bread was just amazing; the crust was chewy and the rest was moist and so delicate that it seemed likely to disintegrate. The meat was served at the perfect temperature and just hinted at the sweetness that too much pastrami rolls about, lazily, in. The red onions tasted fresh and it was garnished with something called cannonball mustard. Googling this brings up Alon’s as one of the most common results. It’s nice little BBs of mustard seed in a very thin little sauce, and it goes incredibly well with the meat.
I enjoyed this wonderful sandwich with a bowl of pretty delightful gazpacho. It was not, perhaps, among the best bowls I’ve ever had, but it was quite good and it was just hot enough outside for this to be a perfectly considered treat. Normally, I just have a glass of ice water with my lunch, but I didn’t think any would be available at this market, so I enjoyed a bottle of Boylan’s cream soda. This all added up to be a pretty pricy lunch for one, but I daresay it was better than anything I could have attempted in my own kitchen.
Seating is, sadly, a real challenge here, so I would advise going outside of the peak lunch rush. The tables are jammed in a little close together, leading several people to act as though they were threading the fat man’s squeeze at Rock City as they tried to get between the table nearest me and a pillar holding up the patio’s roof. The staff member who said he would try to find a highchair for me promptly vanished without trace, so I ate with the baby seat on my table. My son got several compliments from people passing through, which is as it should be. He’s an awfully cute kid.
Other blog posts about Alon’s: