One of my favorite small restaurants is the Picky Deli in Universal City. Located just off Pat Booker Road on Rosewood Drive, this is a great place for simple food done really well — and for the best chicken salad and gumbo in town (gumbo available every Friday).
The Picky Deli offers a build-your-own sandwich menu format; choose a meat, a bread, a cheese, veggies and condiments — and voila! You get what you want, without having to go through an oral checklist. The food here is really fresh — chicken salad made from scratch daily, turkey slow-roasted and carved, fresh vegetables. The soups are really good, with my favorite being the potato and kale (which unfortunately wasn’t available the last time I visited). Many of the meats are available in a salad offering as well. And the owner, Angela, is always there to greet and serve her customers, many of which she knows by name (and she also remembers what you order!)
My favorite sandwich is the chicken salad. This time I tried it on a croissant.
It’s obvious that the chicken is freshly cooked; the salad has generous chicken chunks, hard-boiled egg, celery, and really fresh mayo. Halved grapes add sweetness to the mix. It sounds so simple, but it is so good. The chicken salad is made daily and you can tell; it is so fresh and flavorful that I have a hard time ordering anything else!!
But occasionally I do; I love pastrami and have a hard time turning down a good Ruben or pastrami and cheese sandwich.
The pastrami in the sandwich was at lest a half-inch thick. I asked for havarti cheese, mustard and pickles, and got a great sandwich. On the occasions I have tried the deli meats here, the quality has been really good. This sandwich was terrific.
A friend favors the BLT on croissant.
The BLT was loaded with several crisp bacon strips, and the lettuce and tomato were super fresh. There was just enough mayo added to bring the sandwich together. Tasty!
A fairly new feature at the Picky Deli is the dessert case. There was a lemon cake that was moist and had a good balance of sweetness and tartness.
The cake was good, but the highest kudos went to a rich, moist fudge brownie.
The brownie was really good — nicely chewy and with a dark, fudgy texture.
The Picky Deli recently moved to its new location; and while I appreciate the improved parking and I understand the need for more visibility, I miss the quaint charm of the old location. But the food speaks for itself, and I am sure that given time, Angela will make the place more reflective of her personality.
The Picky Deli is open for lunch and dinner M-F; box lunches and sandwich trays for office or party gatherings are also available. More information is available at the restaurant website: http://www.thepickydeli.com/.