The Denver-based chain recently moved into a storefront (2504 W. Clifton Ave., Clifton Heights, 513-569-0000) that I always thought screamed out for a good restaurant. Entering the room of pickle-colored walls -- I know this might sound unattractive, but it really does look nice -- to encounter an eager, knowledgeable young staff made me certain the space had found its soul mate.
The Pickle's menu offers a nice selection of panini, salads, subs and pizzettis (an 11-inch thin crust pizza). We decided on the Santa Cruz sub ($6.95) with mesquite turkey, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, corn relish, cheddar cheese and chipotle mayo and an Aztec pizzetti ($7.45) with roasted chicken, red onions, green peers, mozzarella and chipotle pesto.
The sub, served on a crusty bread, got a thumbs up, and the avocado, relish and chipotle give a nice flavor boost to our sometimes blandish friend the turkey.
One of my favorite things about the sandwich was the shredded lettuce, which for some reason made it taste fresher. And the pickle that came as a side with a bag of Lay's potato chips was indeed spicy!
After much back and forth I finally reached the conclusion that the pizzetti was good. The menu does set up some false expectations, however.
First, the name made me think of something that would be small, but the 11-inch disk was actually a little overwhelming for lunch. I was also disappointed by the roasted chicken, which turned out to be diced lunchmeat rather than shreds from a roasted breast.
Finally, while the pizzas are baked in a small wood-fired oven and the bottom of the crust is crisp, the top had a slightly anemic look. Pizza crust is definitely a personal preference, and I guess I just like mine a bit more done.
During an earlier visit I was wowed by the Double Dilly-Yo Combo ($6.45) with a half of a Italian panini and a Forest salad (spinach, roasted portobello, toasted hazelnut, grilled onion and sun dried tomato).
The Italian sub was exactly what I expected, a combination of mortadella, hard salami, capocolla, red onion, shredded lettuce, tomato, provolone and basil mayo. But the Forest salad went beyond the ordinary -- the toasted hazelnuts alone were enough to skyrocket it to the best dish in the place. Grade: B
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