If you're a fan of big chain sub shops, you've probably got your favorite brand, one or more favorite sandwiches and your own peculiar combination of add-ons — like extra cheese, more olives, or three fistfuls of pickles.
After that, there's not a whole heck of a lot to say about the franchises, because if you're inclined to visit, you've very likely checked them out already. And have, moreover, made up your mind.
But the Subway at 706 Reisterstown Road in Pikesville offers specials you won't see in most other locations. It's Subway's kosher line.
First impressions: I'm not a regular Subway patron, but I don't recall having seen beer-battered pollock, flounder or salmon croquettes on a specials menu in any visit I've made to a number of the chain's shops.
In this case the schwarma (this shop's spelling; see also shawarma) sounded, for a Subway, borderline exotic.
The lone sandwich maker behind the counter took particular care to prepare what we offered. He worked quickly and asked the right questions as he walked the order through, from cutting the bread to passing the finished product over the counter.
The dish: The foundation for this six-inch schwarma sandwich was Subway's herb bread (Pas Yisroel). A handmade Yoshon flatbread was included in the choices. It might have been a more logical fit for the schwarma. But mixing and matching is part of the Subway experience.
The schwarma combined lamb and turkey, though they could have listed it as any red and white meat combo. Neither had a distinct lamb or turkey flavor — or much meaty tone at all, even plucked from the sandwich and tested solo. But, per instructions, it was also packed with lettuce, pickles, olives and a smattering of onion. Mustard was the sauce of choice, mostly because it's easy to pick out of the selection of at least half a dozen different condiments or dressings.
It's safe to say a visit here will deliver the Subway experience. Preparation and contents may differ, but the brand's character isn't lost. So if kosher isn't a compelling reason to check out this location, one draw might be that you'd have to go far afield to find quite the same concoction in another Subway.
Parting thoughts: The Kosher Subway features the chain's traditional menu along with its in-store specials and subs featuring eggs with a choice of steak, beef or salami. Its regular fish and vegetarian list included pieces not on the fish specials on this visit. And they also advertise three pizzas. They'll top the pies with pareve (see also parve — pareve is this location's spelling) cheese if you request it.
Applaud the Subway chain and this location for catering to a clientele otherwise left out of the Jared diet fad, franchise flavors and whatever remaining charms make the sandwich shop popular. Besides offering a practical service to its target audience, this is Subway with a difference, the nicest one being their counter service.
Where: 706 Reisterstown Rd., Pikesville
Contact: 410-653-5782, subway.com
Lunch hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday
Lunch entrees: $4.25-$11.99
[Key: Outstanding: ✭✭✭✭ Good: ✭✭✭ Fair or Uneven: ✭✭ Poor: ✭]