Pike Place Grocery and Deli

While we're certainly not fans of overly fussy packaging or layers of cellophane underneath a swaddling of aluminum foil inside clumsy Styrofoam containers, we were surprised to open Pike Place Grocery and Deli's handsome cardboard lunch boxes to find our sandwiches, and the scoops of funny pasta-potato salad that accompanied them, naked inside. The special of the day (it was Wednesday), a slow-roasted pork sandwich ($6.99) on a square, ciabattalike roll, seemed particularly alone in the world. It arrived intact, but that seemed a stroke of luck. Whatever the packaging, the reasonably tender if not well-seasoned pork (too much mayo, not enough stone-ground mustard) ranked the highest among the handful of options we sampled. One taster was miffed at having to wrestle with the too-tough "Market house" corned beef on his Reuben ($8.99); another complained his Market Veggie ($6.99) was way too much of too many good things (hummus spread, balsamic roasted vegetables, arugula, sprouts, and Greek tomato pesto), and yet another felt that her too-thinly laid panino Armandino ($7.99), which includes Salumi salamis, would have disappointed its namesake, Armandino Batali. Moreover, the pasta-and-potato hybrid salad was simply too strange for all but two of our tasters. Our advice? Order carefully and opt to eat in instead of carrying lunch out or having it delivered. And if you must order a box lunch, know that orders must be placed 24 hours in advance; delivery is free (within six blocks) on orders of $25 or more. 1926 Pike Place, 206-443-1926. PIKE PLACE MARKET

 
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