The #1 Order to Never Make at a Deli

When it comes to ordering high-quality, delicious food at a restaurant, it's always best to eat fresh. It's a sentiment shared by chefs and nutritionists alike.

The fresh philosophy applies to all dining styles and cuisines from sushi spots to dine-in chain restaurants and is especially important when it comes to deli orders.

The integrity of ingredients front and center Offering a bevy of cured meats, cheeses and breads can make all the difference between hearty comfort food and mushy mediocrity.

When it's good it must be great too. Just look at the best delis in the country and their shared recipe for success, which revolves around avoiding heavily packaged deli meats and making sandwiches with only the highest quality products.

When it comes to deli orders, a major red flag is any hot sandwich that contains lettuce. There are few things more disappointing than soggy, wilted lettuce on an otherwise delicious sandwich, but even if there's lettuce on a hot sandwich.

If the sandwich looks too good to pass up, I ask for it without a salad and add a side salad to release any guilt about missing out on a veggie.

Likewise, other deli red flags usually revolve around freshness. "I try to avoid anything that looks like it's been sitting in a steam well for too long," explains Don Walker, executive chef at Formento & Nonna's in Chicago.

At Nonna's, an Italian grab-and-go restaurant centered around sandwiches and pizza, Walker forgoes made-to-order meatball subs and roast turkey sandwiches with dill havarti, pickled broccoli, Italian dressing and spicy honey mayo. Left steam wells in the side.

Some other deli taboos include roast beef that has not been cut fresh and has lost its color and stale bread according to Walker. Places that will put their products on stale bread show you that they should let other items go out past their prime.

Maharaj notes. So the next time you are craving a Reuben or sub make sure your deli sandwich of choice is as fresh as possible and ideally free of any nasty ingredients that might diminish its quality.

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