Rose's Deli

Teapot, meet kettle.

So earlier today I threw some smug JLowe's way for always going out to lunch.

Then my wife showed up downtown with my daughter, forcing me to go out to lunch for the second time in as many days.

I suck.

Anyway, we were on our way to The Spicy Pickle, which is a current fave (went there last week with JLowe and had a nice sandwich, but I didn't feel like re-blogging the same place). We walked past and realized the set-up really isn't all that conducive to a toddling little girl. So we passed by, and headed over to Rose's.

Rose's has history in Portland. Back when I was young, Rose's had two locations of which I was aware, one on NW 23rd and one out near Gateway in NE. They may have had others, but I wasn't aware of them.

The one on 23rd was a favorite hang-out in my high school years. I loved to go there, have some Matzo Ball soup, and then head up to Washington Park. The NE location was good for the occasional lunch with grandma, who lives out that way to this very day.

Both closed, to the chagrin of many people who really enjoyed their sandwiches and, perhaps more importantly, their desserts.

A few years ago, they re-opened in a smaller location on NW 23rd, closer to Good Sam Hospital. Much more deli than restaurant, the new location was uncluttered, simply appointed, and encouraged prompt eating over lounging about. But the food was every bit as good.

Other locations opened (they currently have five), but beyond the downtown location in the Wells Fargo Building, I haven't ventured any further to try them out.

Anyway, back to today. We headed to Roses, because although they don't have high chairs or anything like that either, at least there is some room to breathe and it's a bit more conducive to a kid-let.

The options are many. Generally, my advice is to stick with one of the Reuben's. They are all good (if a bit too-good) and you can't miss with any of them. However, given my recent attempts to clean up my diet a bit, I opted for the Gardenburger. My wife got the Turkey Club. For the daughter, grilled cheese.

The Gardenburger was disappointing. Served on normal whole-wheat bread (no other options were provided) with tomato and lettuce and nothing else, it was boring. Rose's offers a variety of local Beaver-brand mustards on the tables, so I ate one-half with deli mustard and one-half with spicy hot. Okay, but certainly not great.

I sampled the wife's Turkey Club, which was great. Served on sourdough, the turkey was plentiful and delicious, and the bacon was chewy-but-not-crispy (just the way I like it) with little discernable fat. The sandwich comes with mayo on it, and really nothing else was needed.

Wanting to be very thorough for you, my intrepid reader (there may be more than one, but I don't want to assume too much!), I tried the grilled cheese. Crappy. The bread was too-soft and not at all buttery, which I think are two signs of a poor grilled cheese. There was plenty of cheese, so no let-down there, but I wept for my poor child.

Sandwiches come with a choice of chips or potato salad. The potato salad is good; I believe it's home-made. My wife has an aversion to potato salad that is to "mayonaisse-y," and for her this potato salad didn't cut it, but for most people I think it would be just great. My daughter loved it.

The finishing touch is the pickle. The Spicy Pickle gives you a spicy spear. Rose's gives you a flavorful-yet-painless whole pickle. It was good. I could tell not only by eating it, but by the hilarious frowns my daughter made with each successive taste, showing me that although she hated it, she had to have more. I wish I'd brought my camera.

For the three of us it was about $21. A tad over-priced, but not too shabby.

Rose's is a decent option for a good lunch. If you want a Reuben, it's a can't miss. If you're looking for less deli and more healthy, there are better choices downtown.

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