Banksy's lunch review

The R.B.’s Beef & Cheddar at Banksy’s Cafe is stacked high with beef. (John Lindner, Special to the Baltimore Sun / December 21, 2011)

The roast in the R.B.'s Beef & Cheddar ($7) is stacked so high that, with the curved roll, the sandwich is nearly round — and not much smaller than a softball.

Maybe the best way to tackle this sandwich at Banksy's in the Lake Falls Village shopping center is to open it up and fork out some of the beef. Not only does this make it easier to eat, but you enjoy the treat of an exceptional roast. It needs no other adornment.

Sliced thin and layered fold after fold, the Beef & Cheddar's meat combines quality and quantity. It's almost as tender as the fresh potato roll that, at a glance, looks like a common hamburger bun. In fact, the bread is much less grainy — closer to a brioche.

The mild cheddar cheese added just enough sharpness to let you know it was there, complementing the mild, meaty tones. Had Banksy's had stopped there, it would have had a fine roast beef sandwich anyone could be proud of. But it added a tweak that tempts you to order it even when you're hungry for something else.

The house-made "red ranch" dressing is labeled "sweet and tangy," and it is — a beguiling sweetness works around the edges of the beef. I'm not sure where the "ranch" comes in — it tasted more like an especially mild honey mustard recipe. Ranch or not, it works.

Banksy's slips a trick into its coleslaw, too. The slightly tart, vinegar-based dressing has savory celery seed, crisp cabbage — and raisins. They helped the slaw provide a subtly playful pairing with the sandwich.

Banksy's spin on this lunch staple is a treat worthy of return visits. It will be tough to order anything else next time. At the same time, this sandwich works as a convincing ambassador for Banksy's soups, wraps and assortment of sandwiches.

The restaurant's seating is limited: It might be able to squeeze in 20 people. The floor space is busy with dessert and soup display cases; stacked baskets of chips and shelves of mixed nuts turn up everywhere you look. Banksy's also serves bagels and muffins, lattes and other coffee concoctions.

With the exception of its crab cake, $9.50 is about the steepest price for any item on the menu, with many in the $7-$8 range. The modest prices are part of Banksy's disguise. It's not really just another shopping center mall deli.

Banksy's Cafe

Where: 6080 Falls Road, Mount Washington

Contact: 410-377-4444, banksyscafe.com.

Lunch hours: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays

Lunch entrees: $7-$10