When Harry’s Deli Met Sandwiches

Jun Im | Photography Intern

Say Anteaters, don’t you feel rather bored with the food that’s available to you on and around our campus? Do you feel as if you don’t know (or remember) what fine cuisine is anymore?

By all means, I say this without meaning any disrespect toward the wonderful staff who work tirelessly in our dining areas and food courts, as well as the employees and owners of the numerous fine eateries in UTC and Campus Plaza.

However, when you frequent such venues on a regular basis, chances are, you’ll drop your standards of good food because you’ve grown accustomed to these places and you know what to expect. If that’s the case, look no further than Harry’s Deli.

Chances are, most of you probably haven’t even heard of Harry’s, much less know where it’s located. In fact, you’ll probably ask, “Why should I eat at a place I’ve never even heard of?”

Well, for starters, this humble eatery boasts a 4.5 star average on Yelp out of 207 reviews, and holds the title spot for “Best Restaurant.” In addition to a stellar review from the OC Register, it has also received “Best Deli of 2010” from the OC Weekly just a few weeks ago. You see, for a deli that only opened this past February, these are some very impressive achievements.

Upon entering Harry’s, what you’ll instantly notice is the simple look of the deli, especially with the small round tables, chairs and undecorated pale green walls. After surveying the room, you’ll soon see the man himself, Harrison “Harry” Kho, asking (with a friendly grin, no doubt) what your order will be from behind the counter.

Harry’s sells classic sandwiches like turkey, ham, roast beef and more. However, what you ought to get are their signature sandwiches, like the Chicken Di, ribeye and pulled pork sandwiches.

First-time visitors should try the Chicken Di. This beautiful sandwich consists of a soft golden-brown chicken katsu sprinkled with chopped and sautéed basil, onions and tomatoes, all under two layers of mozzarella and shredded parmesan cheese. All this is placed between two pieces of ciabatta bread with garlic aioli spread right before the entire sandwich is heated in a convection oven so the cheeses melt and the chicken’s juices become sealed.

The famous ribeye sandwich will satisfy any steak craving. This $11.50 whopper features a half-pound of prime certified angus (the same cuts that Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Wolfgang Puck use for their steaks, which are usually priced at over $30) nestled in a seven-inch Italian roll with caramelized onions and bell and green peppers. Before you take the first bite, don’t forget to spread some cumin aioli – it provides a piquant flavor to the tender morsels of steak.

Jun Im | Photography Intern

The pulled pork sandwich is another popular order at Harry’s, and deservingly so. A mouthwatering sauce enriches the sandwich’s plentiful strips of pork, and the crunchy coleslaw provides some texture. Best of all, the bread is firm enough that the sauce doesn’t soak through.

Of course, keep in mind that these are merely a handful of things on the deli’s menu. There are many more appetizing choices, like their Reuben and meatball sandwiches. Dare I mention that they serve breakfast as well?

After eating, I ask Harry how his deli is different from most other places. He replies, “We do everything in-house in that we make our own mayonnaise, dressings and sauces.” Hear that, folks? I doubt many of the places you regularly attend do such a thing.

He continues, saying, “We also offer some unique items that we make from wholesome ingredients of the highest quality.” After eating the Chicken Di and ribeye, you’ll be inclined to agree.

As corny as it sounds, is it possible to put love in food? Harry certainly thinks so. “You put love in food by cooking for people you care about, and that love will show in the food’s quality. That’s why we cook in a constructive and personal manner.”

Indeed, what truly sets Harry’s Deli apart is the simple fact that Harry truly cares about his customers. “What’s missing nowadays is the relationship between the restaurant and the customer,” Harry says. “That’s why I personally respond to each of the comments on our Yelp and Facebook pages: to make sure that the customers are happy. That’s the only way a restaurant can do well.”

Needless to say, when you buy food at Harry’s Deli, you’re getting more than your money’s worth. Not only are you eating scrumptious food, you’re also being valued – talk about hitting two birds with one stone.