Cobb's New York Pizza & Grill

subject: Cobb's New York Pizza & Grill
take-out vehicle: paper bag

cost: $8.67

It's been a long while since I've wandered up Hydraulic in search of food, and as I waited inside Cobb's for my New York steak and cheese sandwich and fries, I started to wonder why. Previously Mario's, and before that Vinny's (I think), Cobb's kinda reminded me of the pizza parlor on "Everybody Loves Raymond": a friendly, unpretentious, neighborhood place for pizza, burgers, and maybe a beer. Who doesn't like a place like that?

Well, considering its near-complete lack of customers, apparently everybody. Curious as to why, I started looking around. The menu was filled with comforting dishes with mass appeal (pizzas, calzones, burgers, hot sandwiches, etc.), and, from my limited view from the small lobby, the dining room seemed cozy enough. The staff I spoke with seemed nice and eager to please. The sliced pizzas in the front display case looked a couple of hours old, but wasn't necessarily indicative of everything else.

So what's the problem? Whatever it is, I don't think it's the New York steak and cheese.

Had I ordered my steak and cheese sandwich straight from the menu, it would have come with chopped steak, mozzerella, peppers and onions, lettuce, tomato, and mayo, but I didn't; I got everything but the mayo. I can't stand mayonnaise. Luckily for me, the sandwich was just fine without it. The steak was juicy enough to not require the extra moisture, and the cheese gave the sandwich just the right amount of fat to hold everything together.

My favorite part, however, may have been the bread. According to the guy I spoke with behind the counter (Cobb?), the bread comes in thrice weekly from a place called Carter's Bread Company, which is apparently local (though I've never heard of it before). Wherever it is, Carter's sandwich roll had a super soft white interior and an ever-so-flaky exterior that lent itself very well to its steak-cradling task, and it had a really nice, light, bready flavor to boot.

The fries, on the other hand, were disappointing. They obviously came from the freezer and were not that high in quality. More disappointing was the fact that they were underseasoned. Skimping on cheap frozen fries is one thing, but not ponying up the extra $.002 it would take to properly salt an order of said fries is totally another. I guess it's a good thing that the sandwiches normally come with chips instead (the fries were $1 extra).

I was also disappointed by the fact that I had to wait almost 30 minutes for my food after walking in and placing my order. Had the dining room been full, I would have understood, but the only other people I saw were the four or five staff and the grumpy-looking older guy who was in the same boat as me. I'll just have to remember to call in next time. (To be fair, I was given several apologies when I was finally given my order, so I assumed the delay was abnormal.)

All in all, I'm not going to say that Cobb's has the best food around, or the most efficient staff, but it was certainly good enough to warrant a few more patrons than I saw, and the problems weren't anything a few beers couldn't fix.

Now I just have to try the pizza.

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