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There’s just nothing in the world like a Really Good Sandwich. You know: thick as the family Bible, dripping with all sorts of back-of-the-fridge goodies, veggies, really great bread, and that fancy mustard you paid waaaaay too much for — maybe with a pickle on the side.
As we all know, however, the road to Really Good Sandwich glory is strewn with broken souls and empty mayonnaise jars. That’s because an attempt to make an RGS at home is more trouble than it’s worth, leaving you with a pile of leftover lettuce, sliced tomato, onion, and those little invisible cheese wrappers. In the end, it’s easier to buy the danged thing, especially if you’re looking for something fancy.
That’s where a place like Maumelle’s Cobblestone Deli comes in. With a friendly, bistro feel, a selection of frozen and take-home items, and a big menu of panini sandwiches, salads, cheeses, quiches, breads and desserts, it’s a nice place to stop off for a bite whilst motoring through our favorite north-of-the-river bedroom community.
The hardest part about Cobblestone Deli is finding it. When you think you’ve gone far enough, keep going, and squint. It’s buried in a new strip center near the country club, and we had to run by the place a couple times before we finally spotted it.
Inside, it’s a casual affair — a couple of small tables and chairs, a deli case full of meats and cheeses, and an open kitchen in the back. A freezer case holds a nice assortment of frozen chili, soups, broths, and dips, and shelves around the walls feature interesting array of jarred and canned delicacies.
From the menu on a recent visit, we tried the smoked turkey Cobb salad ($7.50), while Companion ordered the smoked turkey panini ($7). Between us, we also shared one of Cobblestone’s cheese samplers ($7.95), a selection of three artisan-grade cheeses served with fruit, nuts and Tuscan bread.
Call me a fat American, but I was a bit shocked at the small portions to be had when our food arrived: While the cheese plate offered nice-sized chunks of the good stuff — Stilton with lemon, Drunken Goat and St. Andre — the Cobb barely filled a plate not much bigger than a generous saucer, and the turkey panini was a bit skimpy as well, especially considering what we paid for it.
Still, both made up in taste what they lacked in girth. The salad was a fine mix of Romaine, avocado and tomatoes topped with a fine feta cheese and a good bit of diced, smoked turkey. With boiled eggs on the side and topped with a tart vinaigrette, it made for a great light lunch. Companion had a similarly good experience with the turkey panini, another helping of Cobblestone’s flavorful smoked turkey, with Fontina cheese, dried tomatoes, baby greens and a pesto mayo, served hot on a toasted bun. Both were perfectly complemented by the nice cheeses — though I’d skip the St. Andre if I had it to do all over again: It had an aftertaste so funky it took a couple of seconds to process.
The biggest question for this reviewer is always: Would we go back, if we were chowing on our own dime? With Cobblestone Deli, the answer is definitely “maybe.” Though the prices seem a bit steep for our thin wallet, you do get what you pay for. In this case, that means tasty and artfully prepared ladies-who-lunch fare, made by people who obviously know what they’re doing. Pair that with their selection of take-home items and cheeses, and — if you’re into that sort of thing — you’ve got a pretty good reason to take the Maumelle exit.
105 Country Club Parkway, Suite 100
Be sure to save a little room for a choice from Cobblestone Deli’s dessert case — it’s full of pies, cakes, tarts, cheesecakes and chocolates, all made in-house.
7 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday.
Moderate prices. All credit cards accepted. No alcohol.
Sorry, but I don't see how a return visit is going to make those soft…