While Mirasol brings the newest and the coolest to Delmar Boulevard's ongoing east-of-Skinker renaissance, what's popping up on the Loop's opposite end ain't much more than the same-old subpar. In recent months two chain eateries have extended their brand to the block of Delmar between Leland and Kingsland avenues: a Jimmy John's sandwich shop (6681 Delmar; 314-862-6565) and a New York Burrito (inside the Market in the Loop, 6655 Delmar; 314-727-7275). Neither endeavor should instill fear in neighboring restaurateurs or thrill local palates, though I have friends who luuuvvvv both places (which makes me wonder about the company I keep).
Uninspired, slow service, a messed-up order -- I asked for brown rice and got Spanish -- and a big, blah nothing of a burrito made New York Burrito one of my worst choices for dinner in months. Even rhetorically, I have issues with the place: Since when is New York known for its burritos? (Make mine a Mission, please.) The house-named "original" burrito utterly overreaches the Big Apple metaphor -- there's pastrami in it! For all the pleasing flavor sliced pastrami offers among beans, cheese, beef and sour cream, why not stuff the thing with subway tokens or Yankees tickets? Fuggedabout this place.
Jimmy John's turns out a handful of well-constructed, tasty subs and clubs on seven-grain, whole wheat and French breads, especially the memorable Italian Night Club, which boasts a Genoa salami/capicola/ham trifecta. Sadly, the place also serves the world's worst tuna sandwich. The tuna salad was so runny that the first thing I did after unwrapping my sandwich was -- gross-out alert... -- drain it (ewww!). This sub was also besmirched by the use of shredded lettuce, the kind that reminded me of my high-school cafeteria, instead of leafy lettuce, and an avocado "spread" so thin that I had to go searching for it under the bread. There's nothing here that outranks Subway down the street.
And speaking of Subway (6633 Delmar; 314-726-6940), a few weeks ago I neglected to mention it when listing the few places in the Loop that serve breakfast. Though not a part of the franchise's official menu, this Subway and many others break out countertop electric skillets to whip up omelets and egg sandwiches weekday mornings from 8 to 11 a.m., and on weekends from 9 to 11 a.m. It takes a moment to reconsider your lunchtime sandwich toppings as omelet mix-ins, but the results are not only tasty, they're way cost-effective: $2.99 nets a six-inch egg sandwich with all the fillings you can stand.