San Francisco Sub in Glendale might be the "little sandwich shop that could." Several factors during our visit indicated they are still working out the kinks but the signs are quite promising that they are moving in the right direction.
The décor, ambience and layout of toppings are no different than any of the national sandwich chains but there's a definite earnestness in their desire to please. They offer two sizes ($4.50 small and $6.50 large) for most of the sandwiches. They used to offer a size in between but that is now covered up on the menu board.
Their sandwich items are pretty standard, starting with the smoked ham we tried. For bread you have a choice of a sweet French roll, whole wheat or rye. The French roll was fresh and had a good spongy texture. The meat was full of flavor. Side items are lettuce, tomato, onions and a choice of provolone, Swiss or cheddar cheese with their own "secret" sauce, which appeared to be Italian dressing. I also tried the turkey sandwich and offer the same assessment — good-tasting meat and overall quite pleasing. They will toast the sandwiches in the oven if you wish.
A little bit of confusion ensued when we ordered a side of macaroni salad and they said none of the side orders shown were available any more because they're being phased out. No problem, but I'd suggest covering them up or posting a very visible sign so people don't get their hopes up and ask.
To their wonderful credit — and to make up for the salad they don't have any longer — they offered us a complimentary salad of apples, celery and walnuts served on a bed of green leaf lettuce.
They didn't name it but many know this as a Waldorf salad. We tried it topped two different ways — one with olive oil and lemon juice and the other with mayonnaise. The latter was the better choice and was a delicious complement to the crisp produce. We also detected a hint of lemon juice, most likely to prevent the apples from turning brown.
The gyros ($5.50) had the traditional beef and lamb mixture with onions, lettuce, tomato and yogurt sauce rolled in pita. The meat was aromatic and the bread was lightly toasted and warmed in the oven. Simple and delicious.
For those who like bologna, the mortadella is for you. The young lady preparing it wisely suggested we include an ingredient that I never would have considered — cilantro! That made it really special, and I was really happy to have listened to her advice.
The most decadent thing we ordered was the atomic sub ($7.50) with corned beef, pastrami and roasted turkey. With everything else we chose, it was too much for one meal but made a terrific leftover. Once again, all the meats were tasty and the combination was inspired. The light layer of mustard and drizzle of Italian dressing spiced it up very nicely.
The only disappointment was their French fries ($3 large order), which were a bit greasy and dull. We had to sprinkle a generous amount of salt to give them some gusto.
They told us that the menu will be changing to add more specialty sandwiches and coffee drinks, which explains why they are cutting the standard side orders. Sounds like a wise move that will give the place some distinction.
The new menu items will be unveiled at a party in the parking lot at 6 tonight .
They promised music and lots of fun. I think they'll have their act together and are already on the right path.
Infobox What: San Francisco SubWhere: 602 W. Glenoaks Blvd., Glendale When: 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. SundayPrices: Salads $6.50; sandwiches $4.50 to $7.50 Contact: (818) 551-0800