The Tuna Melt Benchmark: Saul's Deli, Berkeley

I have a confession to make: I am the kind of person who when they go out to lunch I almost always order the same thing. I tell my friends who observe my penchant for tuna melts that its because it is my way of benchmarking an establishment because it gives me a common frame of reference by which to judge every place I visit. The truth of course is much simpler: I fear change. Oh yeah, and that I just really like me a tuna melt sandwich.

So, as I sat down at Saul's in Berkeley pretending to look at the menu, only to order for the umpteenth time that which I always knew I was going to order before I even sat down in the first place, I decided that I would start to bring some truth to the little lie I tell my friends about my aversion to change. I decided to begin a log of every tuna melt I eat in the Bay Area - a simple dish any lunch place should be able to provide and provide well.

And even if such a log proves to be useless in being a restaurant benchmark, then at least I would build a database for the one or two other people out there like me who simply love themselves a tuna melt when given the chance to have one.

So here we go: First up? The place where it all began: Saul's Deli in Berkeley.

Tuna Melt: Saul's Deli

Tuna Melt with Cheddar Cheese on Rye from Saul's Deli in Berkeley.

Saul's serves their tuna melt in a very traditional fashion: on rye bread. I found the bread a tad on the over-buttered side, which comes across as if the sandwich is too greasy, but really only makes it taste better. But personally, I like my sandwiches to be cleaner and to not require a slight wiping of the hands between every bite. The tuna salad itself was well seasoned with the following ingredients: red onion, celery and mayo, and the salad was in excellent proportion to the bread. But the primary feeling I am left with whenever I am done eating a tuna melt at Saul's is that I always wish I could have just one or two bites more. Leaving wanting more is a good sign and is far superior to the alternative: feeling like I had one or two bites too many.

My tuna melt came with shoestring french fries, as they all should, and I ordered a pint and a half (yes, they serve 1/2 pints of beer God bless them) of Anchor Steam (which is on tap at Saul's) to wash it all down.

All in all, a solid showing: ★★★★☆

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i give it 2 out of 5

What tuna melt would you recommend? Where should I go next to force me to re-evaluate my rating here?

sam is correct /\ 1 1 1

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