Sub’r Bowl Review: Cerroni’s The Original Purple Garlic

It’s week 12 of the Sub’r Bowl, which, due to an earlier mix-up in the schedule, ends this round in the Local, Pizza Shop Division. The original schedule had featured VJs Pizza, which is a place none of us had heard of but had great reviews — until recently. Apparently the place changed owners, and now the web site is gone and the intarwebs are full of complaints. So for the second time in this division we went to an alternate, Cerroni’s the Original Purple Garlic.

I didn’t realize until we got to the place that I had eaten at the Purple Garlic years before. The actual restaurant is a small space that’s part of a strip mall, packed with tables and people — apparently a popular lunch destination. Fortunately we got there when a 5-seat table had been cleared: perfect for our party of five. The menu has several interesting sandwich options, which include a classic Italian sub, but the Purple Garlic also features a house special called the Dean Martin. Made with Genoa capocollo, mortadella, provolone, mozzarella and their own red pepper sauce, ordering it was a no-brainer. As with the other pizza shops, I also ordered a slice of pepperoni pizza with the meal.

The restaurant was full, and, though I’m not sure the kitchen could actually fit more people, the staff was barely keeping up with the orders. So it took a while for us to get our orders, but when they arrived they were obviously made with care and not hastily thrown together. The sandwich was very bright and colorful. Although the finely chiffonaded romaine contributed almost nothing to the flavor of the sandwich, it made the sandwich look very festive and inviting. The bread was a perfectly toasted Italian roll with a good flavor. It was a smaller sandwich than we have normally gotten for $6.50, but it was packed with quality.

For me, the stuff this sandwich was made of is the best we’ve had in the Sub’r Bowl, and possibly ever. The meat and cheese were quality ingredients, and the vegetables were fresh and perfectly portioned. I opened the sandwich to take a look at the insides, and usually a sandwich requires some shifting to balance out the ingredients. This sandwich, however, was perfectly arranged: the meat, cheese and veggies we all arranged to deliver the maximum amount of coverage, down to the placement of the onions. Each bite had the full flavor of each ingredient, and it was a joy to eat.

The slice of pizza was OK. The sauce had a very strong garlic flavor, the signature flavor of the Purple Garlic, which was unique from other pizza sauce I’ve had. While the sauce was pleasing, the crust was unfortunately very dense and lackluster, leaving me with a take-it-or-leave-it attribute toward the pizza. Although the Sub’r Bowl is not concerned with pizza, I feel the pizza at the Purple Garlic is easily the weakest we’ve had, and I would not make a trip back based on it.

There were other sides available, including the ever present Lay’s snack chips and a garden salad. They also sell other kinds of salads, but they are of the large, main course variety. To drink they have both sweet and unsweet tea as well as canned sodas. I ordered the tea since it was bottomless. It was good, but not outstanding in any way.

I rated the following categories:

  • Bread: 6
  • Sandwich Stuff: 7
  • Price/Value: 3
  • Non-sandwich Stuff: 3
  • Bonus points: 0
  • Total: 19 points

I notice that the average ratings of my comrades bring Cerroni’s the Original Purple Garlic to the current leader in this division, and rightly so. Although I rated Florio’s Pizza higher overall in this division, Cerroni’s definitely has the better sub. It will be interesting to see the final results as we had into the last round.

See Also:
Greg’s Review