The Tuna Melt Benchmark: Saul’s Deli, BerkeleyPosted: September 9, 2009
I have a confession to make: I am the kind of person who when they go out to lunch I almost always order the same thing. I tell my friends who observe my penchant for tuna melts that its because it is my way of benchmarking an establishment because it gives me a common frame of reference by which to judge every place I visit. The truth of course is much simpler: I fear change. Oh yeah, and that I just really like me a tuna melt sandwich.
So, as I sat down at Saul’s in Berkeley pretending to look at the menu, only to order for the umpteenth time that which I always knew I was going to order before I even sat down in the first place, I decided that I would start to bring some truth to the little lie I tell my friends about my aversion to change. I decided to begin a log of every tuna melt I eat in the Bay Area – a simple dish any lunch place should be able to provide and provide well.
And even if such a log proves to be useless in being a restaurant benchmark, then at least I would build a database for the one or two other people out there like me who simply love themselves a tuna melt when given the chance to have one.
So here we go: First up? The place where it all began: Saul’s Deli in Berkeley.
Saul’s serves their tuna melt in a very traditional fashion: on rye bread. I found the bread a tad on the over-buttered side, which comes across as if the sandwich is too greasy, but really only makes it taste better. But personally, I like my sandwiches to be cleaner and to *not* require a slight wiping of the hands between every bite. The tuna salad itself was well seasoned with the following ingredients: red onion, celery and mayo, and the salad was in excellent proportion to the bread. But the primary feeling I am left with whenever I am done eating a tuna melt at Saul’s is that I always wish I could have just one or two bites more. Leaving wanting more is a good sign and is far superior to the alternative: feeling like I had one or two bites too many.
My tuna melt came with shoestring french fries, as they all should, and I ordered a pint *and a half* (yes, they serve 1/2 pints of beer God bless them) of [Anchor Steam](http://www.anchorbrewing.com/) (which is on tap at Saul’s) to wash it all down.
All in all, a solid showing: ★★★★☆
* [Saul’s Website](http://www.saulsdeli.com/) – they are open *every* day from 8am to 10pm.
* [Saul’s on Yelp](http://www.yelp.com/biz/sauls-restaurant-and-deli-berkeley)