It can be hard to find “Mom & Pop shop” restaurants in South Orange County. You can usually find more unique choices once you get to the coastal cities but it can be difficult sometimes. Second Reef Deli is hidden inside of a quiet strip mall next to a Joanne Fabric shop and it’s been the most interesting thing to open there in years. The decor is simple and reminiscent of the Subway Sandwich Shop that stood there before even down to the sandwich making area.
That’s where the comparison to Subway stops and character of Second Reef Deli begins. The menu has many familiar combinations with a couple of unique bright spots worth trying. What really struck me as special was the owner, Yudy, who’s passion for his product was obvious. It only took a minute of talking to Yudy to figure out what my lunch was going to be.
Second Reef Deli’s “Padang Padang”
- Rotisserie Chicken
- Provolone Cheese
- Applewood smoked bacon
- Reef Aioli
- Griddle toasted sourdough
I don’t know what a Padang Padang is but as far as sandwiches go, this was delicious. The griddle toasted sourdough has a excellent crispy texture that compliments the rich filling well. With melted cheese, hot chicken, and the citrus spice infused “Reef Aiol,” you’re gonna be contending with a lot of flavors so take your time. The bacon is a decent salty addition, but it takes a back seat to the other ingredients (blasphemy!). The overall composition is big and saucy with a great variation in texture, make sure you get enough napkins.
- Genoa Salami
- Baked Ham
- Easy mayo, oil, and red wine vinegar
- Grinder roll
I don’t eat “Italian” meat sandwiches very often so I deferred judgement to my friend Sam. The portion of meat was very generous and the sandwich was quite filling, the light drizzle of oil and vinegar was a nice addition as opposed to cheap Italian dressing.
- Reef Slaw
- Toasted Sourdough
For the record, I think a Reuben with pastrami and coleslaw is actually called a “Rachel,” but it is what it is. Second Reef Deli’s Reuben takes on an interesting twist with a citrus based coleslaw instead of sauerkraut. The pastrami is thinly sliced and a mix of several cuts of beef, the natural fattiness of it compliments the slaw’s acidity nicely, eat it quickly to keep the bread crispy.
I enjoyed all the food that I tried at Second Reef Deli but what really stood out to me is the texture of their griddle toasted bread. It’s compliments the heavier sandwiches very well and enhances the experience, the Italian sandwich was good too, but if you’re looking for something that differentiates Second Reef Deli from the average sandwich shop, look to their hot selections.
Second Reef Deli
25292 McIntyre St Suite:T, Laguna Hills, CA 92653