Is there really such a thing as a "simple sandwich"? In my experience, sandwiches are melty, gooey, tangy, flavorful, sweet, complex or comforting, but rarely are they simple.
It's an idea that Meridian eatery Good Thyme Grille and Catering has staked its business on. With a menu packed with gourmet sandwiches boasting ingredients like tri-tip steak, Genoa salami and capicolla, Good Thyme is trying to up the sandwich ante.
The unassuming deli fills the end of one of Meridian's ubiquitous strip malls, sandwiched between WinCo and the landmark yellow water tower. A half-dozen small tables fill the gleaming interior, where a less-is-more approach to decorating keeps things simple and clean.
As my favorite dining companion and I stepped up to the counter to order on a recent afternoon, a pair of home-baked cinnamon rolls dripping with icing in a display next to the cash register made it hard to concentrate on the menu. Turns out all of Good Thymes' goodies are baked fresh daily--a nice touch, especially for a restaurant with a small menu.
We skipped the dining area and headed outside to the surprisingly attractive patio, where an assortment of metal tables sat in the shade of the building, blocked off from the nearby parking lot by large, built-in planters brimming with flowers and assorted greenery.
The helpful and friendly counter staff pointed out some of the best sellers, one of which, the Idaho Chicken Sandwich ($3.99/half, $5.99/whole) arrived with a side of house-made potato salad ($1.39). The sandwich is a traditional chicken salad, jazzed up with the addition of almonds, large chunks of celery and assorted seasonings, served with Monterey jack cheese, tomato and alfalfa sprouts on wheat bread. Upon the advice of a few other diners, my dining companion ordered the sandwich grilled, which was very good advice.
My companion nodded her head and raised her eyebrows in approval, eventually adding that the sandwich had good flavor, but she wished it had just a little something extra to make it stand out. Maybe she should have taken the other bit of advice and asked for grapes to be added. Her criticism of the potato salad was roughly the same: good quality ingredients, put together well, but lacking kick.
Personally, I'm a sucker for turkey paired with cranberry sauce, so I went with the Mayflower ($4.29/half, $6.29/whole) and added a small cup of house-made pasta salad ($1.39). The turkey was thin-cut, and obviously high-quality, and came accompanied by said cranberry, alfalfa sprouts, tomato and either mayo or cream cheese on wheat bread. I went with the cream cheese, which added a nice counterpoint to the tang of the cranberry. And while I enjoyed the overall flavor combination, I, too, wished there was something else that jumped out just a little more--maybe smoked turkey would have done the trick.
The bread offered the only obstacle in the meal. Its fluffy freshness was clear, and while this attribute is usually welcomed, combined with the layer of cream cheese and cranberry sauce, it instantly created a nearly unbreakable bond with my front teeth as soon as I took a bite. The military would love to be able to match the force with which the bread managed to adhere itself to my teeth, and I was left to discretely try to scrape it off. Maybe this sandwich should be moved to a French roll, something with a little texture to help break the bonds.
The pasta salad was decidedly easier to eat, and the addition of numerous green and black olives, as well as artichoke hearts, broccoli and just a bit of pepperoni added a nice complexity to both the flavor and texture.
Good Thyme also offers build-your-own sandwiches, as well as an intriguing list of salads, all well priced ($3.25-$6.55). Next time I'm in the neighborhood, I think leafy greens will be the way to go. Maybe by then I'll finally get the last remnants of the bread off my teeth.
--Deanna Darr always carries dental floss in her purse.