I've long been a fan of the wonderful Italian sandwiches of Bay Cities Deli in Santa Monica. The Bay Cities Godmother, loaded with meat, oil and vinegar and stuffed onto a freshly made, crispy crusted loaf of their housemade bread, satisfied a hero sandwich craving when I first moved her from Manhattan. Now, I'm guessing that if I ate at my old sandwich haunts in New York, I would miss the Godmother. I'm also a sucker for the meatball sandwich, with all of that glorious sauce loaded onto that same fresh bread.
The big disadvantage of Bay Cities is that it's in Santa Monica, and while it makes an ultra-convenient beach picnic, it's not always easy to satisfy a craving, and I've long wished for a good grinder east of Fairfax. That's why I was excited to hear about the new deli All About the Bread on Melrose at La Brea which I was told made similar sandwiches to Bay Cities.
It turned out that these were not merely similar sandwiches. The primary meat sandwich at All About the Bread is the Godfather. As with Bay Cities, it can be ordered with "the works" which includes hot peppers. And it is served on housemade bread that is remarkably similar in appearance to the bread in a certain Santa Monica deli. Why not just call the place Inland Cities? Anyway, I would caution the proprietors of this new haunt to be on the lookout for angry lawyer letters in the new future.
But how do these sandwiches compare to the Bay? They are good sandwiches and I'm glad to have an outlet for them closer than Lincoln Boulevard, but they aren't quite up to the Bay Cities standard. The Godmother was tasty and I liked that it had prosciutto, which added a nice hint of cured meat. The All About the Bread bread is crunchier than Bay Cities' version, but it lack some of the nice, yeasty flavor of the Bay Cities bread.
The meatballs and marinara on the meatball sandwich were nicely flavored, though I would have liked more sauce. Still, I didn't dig it quite as much as the giant Bay Cities meatball.
Of the sandwiches I tried, the one that I thought All About the Bread did better than Bay Cities was the caprese, which had a good balance of mozzarella, tomato and basil and came together well. The caprese benefits from the somewhat thinner bread at All About.
It may seem like a blatant copy of the Bay Cities formula, but hey, it's a successful formula and I'm glad to get a good Italian sandwich closer to home.
All About the Bread
7111 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046