Restaurant Review: Surf Side Deli in Point Loma

by on May 31, 2017 · 4 comments

in Ocean Beach

Restaurant Review

“The Special”. All photos by Judi Curry

Surf Side Deli
(Formerly Brown Bag Deli)
1912 Rosecrans
San Diego, CA 92106

No less than four people have asked me if I have tried the Surf Side Deli.  When the fourth person asked me about it I asked them what was so special about it.

His answer was that the Chef is Billy “Butter” Joyce – a local, that has an extensive career in the food industry.  He has worked at the Old Venice, Miguels, the Brigantine, Karl Strauss, etc.  His background goes on and on, and it was highly suggested that I try it.

I took my Swiss student Sonja with me, not really knowing what to expect.  I thought that we might eat there but was not sure if that would be the case because I have seen Billy’s advertisements for a meal for 2 including all of the fixings.  All you have to do is pop it in your oven.  Upon entering, although there is a small area to eat in the back, I knew that we would be taking our order home.  There was nothing wrong with the dining area; but it was a little noisy from music, and there was no real reason to eat there, since we place the order at the counter and it is brought to us there.

The menu board lists 10 sandwiches, all for $7.99.  Chips are available for an additional $1.50.  There seems to be only one sandwich – “The Admiral’s Avocado Delight” – that is somewhat vegetarian – Avocados, Cheddar Cheese, Bean Sprouts, Raisins, Sunflower Seeds, and Herb Mayo on Honey Wheat Roll – but there is no gluten bread on the menu. The other sandwiches either have turkey, roast beef, Cotto Salami, Ham, Tuna, Pulled Pork or Smoked Bacon.

Admiral Avocado Sandwich

Additionally, there was a “special of the day” board that had a “Shark Bite” – Brandt Roast Beef, Pepper Jack Cheese, Sriracha, Mayo, Crispy Onions, lettuce and tomatoes.  There was a “Forget About It” – pastrami, melted cheese, herb mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato and Pepperoncini.  The “Boil” – poached eggs, Applewood smoked bacon, melted cheddar, herb mayo lettuce and tomato was sold out.  All of the specials were $7.99.

Regular mayo, Dijon mustard, regular mustard, honey mustard, pickles, cranberry Dijon mustard, stone ground mustard, fresh Herb Mayo and Pepperoncini  peppers were available.  Other extra’s  – avocado, bacon, cheese, salami, mortadella and/or hard salami were $1 extra.

Additionally, chicken breast, pulled pork, roast beef, turkey or ham are $2 extra.

Their surf side salads are made fresh daily and cost $6.99.  They have several desserts – $2 each; soda’s for $1.50 each; iced tea for $2.25 and three different sizes of water – $1.25-$2.25.

The interior of the deli is interesting, for you face the counter where you order, but the menu is on the side of what appears to be a kitchen. Because Sonja’s mother owns a restaurant, she was very interested in the different parts of the building, and spent some time talking to one of the cooks – Mark Savage – and he answered all of her questions.  (Apparently they also do catering and Mark was working on the menu for tomorrow.)

After looking over the menu, Sonja decided to try the #6 – “The Admiral’s Avocado Delight”.  She wasn’t sure what a raisin was, and Mark asked Jake – another worker – to show her the raisins.  I decided to order one of the specials – “The Shark Bite” but asked not to have the sriracha on it.

It was at this time that we met Billy.  He was very apologetic and said that they had run out of the honey wheat rolls and would it be ok to have Sonja’s sandwich on an Artisan Baguette.  That was not a problem.  And then he came over again to tell us that he was out of sunflower seeds, but would be glad to substitute a different kind of seed.  That, too, was ok.

We also elected to order two desserts – the lemon bar, and something that was called “Crack!”  When I asked what it was called I think I looked a little nonplussed because I was quickly told it had chocolate chips, coconut, nuts, in it and it “cracks” when it is eaten.

Our total bill came to $19.98 and if you look at the pictures you can see there was quite a bit of food.

Sonja and I split our sandwiches – hers was very good – and very different.  The raisins lent a different flavor to the sandwich; almost a sweet taste.  It complimented the other ingredients.  My sandwich was also very good; the meat was tender and tasty.  The pepper jack was melted onto the bread so I did not get the real taste of it, and I would have liked to have had more of that flavor.

The murals on the wall are delightful – Brian Hebets did an excellent job of painting a grouper, and several yellow tail.  Billy told me he will be back to add some bass, and perhaps an albie.

While we were there, a man did come in an purchase one of the dinners for two.  It is already wrapped in a cooking container, so I did not get a chance to see it, but written on the top of the aluminum foil was the main course; the vegetable, and anything else that is in the pan.  It was a straight $25.

I do have one concern regarding the dessert, however.  The “crack”, the brownie and the cookie are wrapped in plastic wrap.  There is no ingredient listing on any of the desserts.  I would be afraid, with so many people having allergies, that not knowing what the item is made from could cause some severe difficulty.  If it is not possible to put the ingredients on each and every piece, I would suggest that a placard be nearby so one can read what the product is made from before trying it.

Would we go back?  Yes. Without hesitation.  They were large sandwiches; fresh; and tasty.  And….very, very friendly

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Judi May 31, 2017 at 5:11 pm

I probably should have added that this location is where the old “Brown Bag Deli” was located.


Jan Hall May 31, 2017 at 6:00 pm

We have been there 10 times and love all the sandwiches. Also have ordered the dinners for 2 which are large enough for 3 or 4. If you don’t want to cook, these are a bargain. Billy and crew are delightful and friendly, also add talented.


Gwen June 1, 2017 at 11:27 am

From the content of the rest of this article, I believe that the word “free” is missing from this comment. “but there is no gluten bread on the menu”. Sounded like it was all gluten. Would love a clarification. Thank you.


Judi June 1, 2017 at 12:51 pm

Sorry for the error. There is no gluten-free bread on the menu


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