Albany: Zarri's roast lamb ($5.50) and tri tip sandwiches
With all of the super star markets and restaurants in the Bay Area, it is nice there is an ordinary place like Zarri's where you can get a nicely made-to-order, nothing fancy sandwich at a good price. I wish there were more ordinary places like this.
Recently they have posted signs in the window for roast lamb and tri tip sandwiches.
The lamb was thin, tasty slices warmed on the pannini machine. The portion was generous. The basic sandwiches include mustard, mayo and pickles. Veggies will add 75 cents to the sandwich. So my lamb sub was $6.25.
There was a nice fresh lettuce leaf and some thinly sliced onions, little thicker than string that impressed me. Thick onion slices can throw off the balance. These added flavor without taking over.
This was my first first visit to Zarri's since I moved out of the Bay Area over a year ago. I was happy to see little change, including the prices.
Most sandwiches are $4.50 to $5. Some are even as low as $3.50 (egg salad or poor boy).
How many places these day sell baloney, tounge, liver sausage, head cheese, pistachio mortadella, thuringer sandwiches ... or roast lamb?
They have added panninis and home made lasagna. I'm not sure if they had soup in the past, but soup costs $2.99. There are two sidewalk tables that I didn't remember in the past.
They still have the cheese counter. There was a sign for fresh mozzarella. The shelves are still stocked with Italian groceries including my favorite sardines. The wines are stilll reasonably priced. There are suprises tucked here and there among the everyday groceries and wines.
But basically it is the neighborhood Italian market that might not dazzle, but it competantly gets the job done and is affordable.
1244 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706
this is good to know. i had a very basic poor boy sandwich about a week ago from there and was not impressed - and it was my first time. so i'm glad to know they can do good things too. and they're very nice people. i absolutely love lamb sandwiches, so will check that out next time i'm at my dad's around lunchtime. and i did note that the wines are really reasonable - picked up a bottle of something but haven't opened it yet.
Just a note this is not a place to impress, just buy a decent sandwich. Is the lamb going to be like a Gregoire's special? Nope. Is it a good basic lamb sandwich. Yep. Think more of a comparison of a supermarket deli. The prices are less, the quality more honest. Really? Underwhelmed by a $3.50 poor boy?
I heart Zarri's. A breath of authentic, Italian, working class fresh air in the uber-foodie East Bay. Their Poor Boy sandwich has every deli meat you can think of and is unbelievably cheap and good. I totally concur re surprises among the groceries--and good prices. We regularly stock up on deli meats and cheeses. And when our kids were in middle/high school, they would love nothing more than going to Zarri's with their friends, where they got great sandwiches at prices that didn't make a dent in their allowances. The servers are helpful in an old-school way. Not a false note!