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North Side Review: Jerry's

By Laura Oppenheimer in Food on Jul 12, 2007 8:00PM


Twelve pieces of salmon-pink, slimy, sliced smoked turkey deli meat were piled on top of each other with a plop of tasteless coleslaw, a teaspoon of cranberry sauce, and a whole lot of "adobo sauce" which looked and tasted like Sriracha. Meet the mediocre "Maya F," one of the 100+ sandwiches on the menu at the second outpost of Jerry's. The Division Street location officially opened on Monday, though people have been packing the place since the beginning of July. And we couldn't blame them; at $8.25 for a sandwich and two sides, it presents an upscale yet inexpensive take on a food that almost everyone can appreciate.

We started off on a promising note, with a shared appetizer of fries. The fries come served in a cone, European-style, with a choice of two sauces. We opted for the adventurous southwestern mayo, while playing it safe with the ketchup. The fries seemed to be of the twice-fried variety, meaning they were tender on the inside and delightfully crispy on the outside. We wish we had called it a night after eating the fries and trying their pineapple mint mojito; both were well-executed versions of standard items. But alas, we ordered sandwiches, which is where the evening started to turn.

To be fair, with so many sandwiches on the menu, it is possible we simply did not order correctly. It isn't realistic that one kitchen could actually make 100 perfectly delectable sandwiches, is it? Regardless, the Maya F was a Disappointment. We were expecting something along the lines of the best part of thanksgiving, combined with the coleslaw normally found on a BBQ burger, all kicked up a notch with the adobo sauce. Instead we found ourselves wondering why all we could taste was deli meat smoked turkey and spicy sauce. The nuance and flavor we were expecting was nowhere to be found.

2007_7_Jerrys1.jpgWe also tried the Neal C, from the salmon section of the menu. It came with roast salmon, portabellas, cilantro, cheddar, mayo, and that damn adobo sauce. Wow, was this a fishy sandwich. Salmon can range from mild to very flavorful, but when it tastes mostly like tuna, we know something isn't quite right. This fishy flavor of the salmon was only one of several strong flavors. In contrast to the turkey sandwich, this one had too much stuff going on; the mayo and sauce were oozing out, while the cilantro and cheddar seemed to get lost in the shuffle.

The Bob M sandwich with roast beef, grilled onions, portabellas, Swiss, and southwest mayo was the most cohesive of the three sandwiches Chicagoist tried. The flavors meshed well, with the whole thing having a half-southwestern, half-cheesesteak kind of thing going on. It was good, but not anything we'd order again.

Chicagoist isn't sure where we went wrong at Jerry's. They have been packed every night, and the people around us seemed to enjoy their orders. Perhaps we should have picked more pedestrian toppings. But with over 100 sandwiches to choose from, how could we order a simple turkey, avocado and mustard sandwich?

Jerry's is located at 1938 W. Division St., 773-235-1006, Sun-Thur, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri-Sat, 10:30 a.m. - midnight.