bite-sized

Loafing Around

Southside deli is all about the sandwich

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In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a dearth of good delis in this region. I’m always on a quest for a good Reuben; it doesn’t seem like too much to ask to have a giant sandwich with corned beef, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing and a pickle on the side. Mocha Rita’s, with its vast (we counted at least 24 on the menu) sandwich selection, offered a ray of hope in the miasma of lunch spots, so off we went.

As you walk in, it’s like being beamed back to a ’90s café. Along with comfy seating, accents of black and dark reds give it a rather chill vibe. But it could be a shack in the woods for all I knew, because … Reuben. The Reuben arrived (half $6.95/ whole $9.95) looking fat and sweet! The Boar’s Head corned beef was thinly sliced and stacked high on rye bread (thank heavens). Add the Thousand Island dressing and kraut, and it was a sehr gut Reuben.

Mocha Rita’s lunch deal, a half-sandwich and cup of soup or a salad ($9.95), is a winner on busy days. The soup of the day was fish chowder, which we paired with a Tuna Melt. Honestly, the Tuna Melt looked more like a tuna sandwich. I mean, a really good tuna sandwich with lettuce and black olives, but not meltish at all. If it hadn’t had cheese on it, I wouldn’t have known it was even supposed to be a melt! It was a big bite with quite a healthy tuna scoop, but I’m still shaking my head over that name; I mean, the thing wasn’t even warm. You can’t call just anything with tuna a melt unless the cheese is gooey melty. The fairly large serving of chowder, with a side of croutons, was full of seafood and corn in a creamy base.

When we asked about the most-ordered item, the counterman said their signature sandwich is the Hot Chick, a pressed panini (half $7.95/whole $9.95). The sandwich includes sliced Boar’s Head Blazing Buffalo roasted chicken and hot sauce pressed thin inside two good bread slices. Not much dimension to the signature item, despite the side of dipping ranch. I’ll stick to the alleged “melt.”

Mocha Rita’s bread is from Village Bread–always good–but the kitchen didn’t toast it, which to me is required in a melt and nice plus in a Reuben. I recommend asking for toasted bread.

As for dessert, it’s hard to say anything bad about a brownie. Though chocolaty, there was little to no flour in this one. And it had a graham cracker crust. No brownie has a crust. It was more like a gooey, very rich chocolate bar. I’m nitpicking but, hey, that’s my job.

I don’t think many items are made from scratch at Mocha Rita’s, but most were decent. There’s coffee, bottled beer and sangria. It’s a fun place.

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If you have a recommendation, shoot me an email.

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