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Good Food!

Damn the Torpedoes! Pastrami Worth Going Down with the Ship — and a Killer Italian Sub

Restaurant: East Coast Subs
Cuisines: Sandwiches
Location: 5018 S. State, Murray (Map); 3490 S. State, South Salt Lake (Map); 83 E. 300 S., Salt Lake City (Map)
Price Range: $0.94–$6.14
Grade:
B+ — See Foodie Report

I had not been to the East Coast Subs for at least a year, if not two, and that had been once in a long stretch itself. So I must say that I was surprised (pleasantly so!) by the changes that they had made in their Murray location. They
have put up some paint and some framed pictures with a bit of a lighthouse theme, as well as East Coast elements, like a big map on the wall. It gives the place a lot more character, rather than just being a space for people to  throw out sandwiches.

You order at the counter off a laminated menu, pay, get your drink cup, then find a place to sit. There are tables and a short bar with stools to choose from. My first choice wasn't wiped down, so I went to another table nearby.
They have wooden holders on the tables with business-card sized advertisements in them, which gave me something to do while I waited a very short time for my sandwich.

They called my number and I walked up to pick up my Hot Pastrami and Fries and was stricken by a thought: Quizno's is promoting the torpedo sandwiches — but East Coast Subs has had them all along!

First words out of my mouth: "Damn the torpedoes!"

The sandwiches are wrapped up tight in wax paper, taped shut, to maintain the integrity of the wrap, and the fries come in a red-and-white checkered paper basket. Quiznos has nothing on East Cost Subs in that department.

The sandwiches at East Coast Subs are long and thin, stuffed with grilled pastrami (the good stuff, not the peppered more-corned-beef-than-pastrami stuff that you see so often anymore.) This was the type of pastrami that made a believer out of me in terms of pastrami. It's still beef, but the curing process makes it taste almost like pork. The cheese was good, and they have a nice pepper mash that compliments the flavor — not to mention the mayo, shredded lettuce and tomato.

The fries are also very good. They're the thin fries that you don't see much anymore, so they get crispy, and the salt makes them taste almost like a soft, skinny potato chip. They have fry sauce that's not bad (might be Thousand Island Dressing). In all, this is my kind of comfort food.

By the end of the meal, I was reminded of why I decided to love pastrami all those years ago, had that life-is-good feeling, and a smile on my face. That's just the way it was meant to be!

On my second visit, I arrived at 5:30 p.m. on a Friday. They were closing at 6 p.m., but the woman at the counter showed no sign that they might be put out by my arrival. A pleasant surprise. However, about half the tables in the place needed to be wiped down, and there was only one table occupied.  Maybe they just had a rush. Hard to say. But they didn't get around to wiping them down till shortly before I was done eating. But I get ahead of myself.

The laminated menu was gone at the counter, so I had to look at the old-fashioned menu board, which told nothing of what each type of sandwich would have on it. Disappointing. But the older woman taking my order was pleasant and answered all of my questions without batting an eye.

I decided on the Italian Sub and Cheese Fries. I don't know how long they've offered them, but it was the first time that I had noticed. She asked for my name, then I sat down.

It wasn't much of a wait before another employee called my name and brought out my sandwich and fries.

First words out of my mouth: "Fries look good!"

Where a lot of places make them with shredded cheddar cheese, these had two types of cheese melted over them. A nice surprise. But they are still the shoestring fries that I love so much, and the cheese just made them that much better. After a couple fries, I turned to the sandwich.

First words out of my mouth after first bite: "Oh, yeah. That's Italian!"

Unlike many Italians that use ham as a filler, the Italian at East Coast Subs has no ham. It has capicola, salami and pepperoni, with provolone cheese. It had a good vinaigrette that was very nice, as well as mayo, and their awesome pepper mash. Having no ham on it really emphasized the flavor of the capicola, with its intense flavor, almost like a poor man's prosciutto. (Mmmmmm, prosciutto.)  The shredded lettuce is great, as well a the sliced tomatoes. In all, a great, great sandwich, emphasizing the authentic flavors.

When finished, I had that life-is-good feeling, and was very pleased to know that there was still at least one place with a killer Italian sub left in town.

One thing, though. I make a habit of picking up to-go menus everywhere I go. The one at East Coast Subs is a third-page and has only the names of sandwiches and prices. If a customer is so familiar with the menu that he doesn't need the description, he doesn't need the menu.  That approach is really a waste of resources.

FoodUtah.com Foodie Report

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     food·ie (fd)
     noun. Slang.  A person who has an ardent or refined interest in food; a gourmet.