Real Crazy at the Real Deal

1213635301In my cell phone address book, there are four buttons I push to get food (how do you say, behavioral conditioning?). They are: “Thai,” “Pizza,” “Indian,” and “Wndrsp.” Since I live in JP, that translates as Ban Chiang House, Same Old Place, Bukhara, and Wonderspice. With those four buttons, I’ve been able to avoid using my kitchen appliances for anything but reheating leftovers and hiding dirty dishes for months. Still, I’m always on the lookout for Button No. 5.

Could it be the Real Deal, the West Roxbury–based sandwich shop that recently made its debut on Centre Street? I’ve been there twice now, and I still don’t know—mainly because I’ve left both times feeling flattened by a Mack truck.

There’s the crowd, which is considerable and constant in afternoons and evenings; in Jamaica Plain, only JP Licks on a summer night can match it. And with the crowd comes the noise and the wait (I saw one poor shmoe cooling his heels for about 20 minutes for his King Kong burger, while his date was already midway through her order).

And then there’s the menu: the dozen-plus wraps, the 30 or so “signature sandwiches,” the 16 deluxe salads, the burgers, paninis, pizzas (with a case of desserts and a lineup of ice cream thrown in for good measure). My brain just shorted out. Point-and-grunt time.

Luckily, the two sandwiches I tried, the Super Beef (roast beef doused in barbecue sauce and melted cheese) and the Henry Hill wrap (turkey, BLT, and Swiss), were fresh and tasty, if not the monster-sized meal I was bracing for. And, like the rest of the menu, they were cheap. Most items here are around $6–$7.

The take-away: If you study the menu, order online, and get it to go (the handful of tables here aren’t worth fighting over), the Real Deal will make you real happy. As for me, I’m holding off on assigning Button No. 5—”Sandwich”—until I get a taste of the new City Feed & Supply, opening down the street next month.

The Real Deal, 736 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, 617-522-1181,