Sandwich City: G’s Dynamite Deli

G’s Dynamite Deli
2312 S. First St. (map).  512-520-9810,
Hours: 11am-9pm Mon-Sat; 12pm-5pm Sun.
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 01.06.14
At $5.99, G’s chicken salad sandwich might be the best sandwich deal in the city. Two big scoops’ worth, troweled over bread as wide as a muppet’s mouth. Good bread, wheat with a sweet adobe grain and honeybrown crust. Chicken salad is defined by its filler. Too much and it doesn’t matter how good the chicken itself is. At G’s, they strike an ideal balance between the chicken and chopped pecans, grapes and sweet mayonnaise. The chicken is processed down to a shaggy, white mortar, cooked and chilled to a robust texture complemented with whole-grain dijon. Is it possible to be stuffed like a hedonist and refreshed as a yogi at the same time? This sandwich’s answer is yes.
Where the chicken salad is an afternoon at the spa, the Reuben is a day at the docks ($8.99). It wears a jacket of mottled rye with a hard-toasted panini patina. The sandwich in-between outgrew the jacket last season, stretching the seams with a double layer of melting Swiss and a half-dozen folds of salty, fat-grained pastrami. And it will cut you, in that Cap’n Crunch roof-of-the-mouth way. In fact, I could do without the panini squeeze altogether.
What makes this Reubenesque dockworker more than a minimum-wage drone is sauerkraut that’s been washed in what G’s calls “Reuben Juice,” a cappuccino-colored brew of soy, Worcestershire, dill pickle brine, honey and more. It’s the quick fix for the Reuben’s Achilles’ heel: Russian dressing. The juice adds fleeting spice, a brace of acidity and a dash of sweetness to turn Reuben into a well-rounded career climber.
All 13 sandwiches here — from toasted club to Caprese to muffaletta to the all-in Man-Wich — come with a choice of fruit salad, mixed greens, soup or carrot sticks with ranch like my grade-schooler’s lunch. Mushroom-brie soup was a creamy reduction with earth and onion overnotes, and the fruit salad brought raspberries and strawberries to the party.
G’s is a tiny place, a blink-and-you-miss-it bungalow in shades of thundercloud gray between El Tacorrido and Little Mexico on South First. The walls are papered with fridge-quality crayon drawings of sandwiches, show posters and random bumper stickers. There are three bar-height tables inside and bistro tables under the trees outside, and the staff is laid-back and friendly.
“I can’t tell you many times I’ve driven past here and never saw you,” I told the manager. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that,” was her practiced reply. Now there’s no excuse to miss it.
(TOP: Chicken salad and wheat with fruit salad from G’s Dynamite Deli. INSET: A panini-pressed Reuben sandwich. G’s tiny building is set off from the street just enough to make it both hard to spot and a shaded escape from the racket of that street. Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)