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Cheap eats

I'm the first to admit that an $8.50 sandwich doesn't exactly seem like a cheap eat. But a sandwich that's so big that you take half home is worth considering. And when the food is as good as it is at Chris' N.Y. Sandwich Co., it's worth a second look.

Chris' offers an efficient takeout counter and quick service for the workers who make up most of its clientele. Although a few years ago it expanded to include mezzanine seating upstairs, John and I got one of the last tables when we arrived at 12:30 p.m., and 10 minutes later there was a line. Some people perched at the counter that looks out onto Delaware Avenue, and by a few minutes after 1 p.m. tables were turning over again.

The efficient servers bustle -- we had drinks at our table within a minute of ordering them -- and they combine friendliness with sass. I asked for just a corned beef on rye (my usual order at Katz's and the Carnegie Deli in New York City, as well as the former Mastmann's on Hertel). "It's not JUST a corned beef sandwich!" the server scolded me, gently.

And sure enough, it was far from JUST a corned beef on rye ($7.95). It was the size of a New York City deli sandwich, although the corned beef was stacked thickly to the edges, rather than being concentrated in the center, making a sandwich too thick to be bitten into. The slightly salty meat was tender and juicy, without being fatty or greasy. The rye was fresh and nicely toasted. A slice of Swiss (not available in a kosher deli) made a nice addition, but the lettuce was extraneous.

There were two soups of the day: a creamy potato with bacon and green onions and a Cajun chicken with rice. We tried the first, and it was thick and creamy, as billed, with plenty of bacon taste and nice onion accent.

Our second sandwich was a cold hand-carved turkey breast ($7.75; available warm for $8.25) on a delicious sesame-seed-dusted roll that was crusty outside and tender inside. The turkey, sliced medium thick, was tasty and fresh.

The sweet potato fries ($2.50) were heavenly, light and crusty, perfectly accented by flakes of coarse kosher salt. A wee ramekin of tuna-mac salad ($2.25), with carrot bits and peas, tasted just like homemade.

-- Anne Neville

***

Chris' N.Y. Sandwich Co.

395 Delaware Ave.

854-6642

Review: 3 stars (Out of 4)

"Excellent quality lunch."

Chris' N.Y. Deli is open from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is handicapped-accessible.

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