(QUICK BITE) Soulful Sandwiches

>> Tremont: This neighborhood is fast becoming the culinary soul of Cleveland. It features some of our finest restaurants, chocolate and pastry shops, cozy bars, pizzerias and even a misnamed deli with more than 60 sandwiches, submarines, salads, wraps and soups.

We’d love for La Bodega to be a true bodega and offer wine. Instead, it does a yeoman’s job of turning around food orders in short time. It’s fast food without the greasy burgers and fries. Within minutes, you can walk away with fresh and healthful-sounding sandwich combos.

The No. 27 ($7.95) — turkey with smoked gouda, caramelized onions, sprouts and balsamic mayoserved on your choice of bread is a good example of the quick, out-of-the-ordinary food.

The sprouts and caramelized onions were a terrific contrast to the smoked gouda and turkey. But the mayo on it was worth discussing, as with all the sandwiches we tried.

The tangy balsamic combo is added to give a bite to the mellow smoke. It was a good thought, but the flavor was a little overpowering. Each sandwich was slathered with mayo, often with some odd effects.

Take for example the wonderfully piquant-sounding Greek sub ($8.95) with turkey, artichoke hearts, olives, feta, tomato, onion and Mediterranean herbs. But with mayo and balsamic dressing? A simple herbed-lemon vinaigrette would seem more appropriate. The same goes for the roast beef sub ($9.95) with caramelized onions, mushrooms, red peppers, mozzarella cheese and gobs of mayo, without enough horseradish flavor.

Overall, La Bodega is great and offers an imaginative bite to eat, served quickly and topped with fresh, quality ingredients. Just consider going light on the mayo.
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