To be fair, it should be known that they insulted me first. Apparently in order to get a decent sandwich in Adams Morgan, you have to be willing to bear a little invective. On Columbia Ave, just feet away from the main drag of shops and restaurants on 18th, you may have walked right past this small, unassuming storefront a hundred times before you actually stopped to read what its awning crudely proposes.
Below the sign are foreboding metal bars that scream pawn shop. Inside, you'll find an Asian family (the Kos) manning the register - not the original owners of the New York-style deli - but I was no less surprised. Nothing about this deli quite makes sense, and that may just add to its charm.
The giant chalk board inside boasts about fifty unique sandwiches and a handful of bagel options (I couldn't find a single Yelp review that didn't crown these the 'best bagels in D.C.').
My first sandwich was an Italian (below), a combination of salami, mortadella, prosciutto, capocollo, pepperoni and provolone over lettuce, tomato, onion and olive paste, served on a soft, Italian roll. The ingredients are high quality, but served sparingly. The major downside is the bread, which can make or break a sandwich. In this case, generic, store-brought bread is enough to downgrade an otherwise solid sandwich.
Another speciality of the house is the Bronx Pastrami (below), served on seedless rye bread with provolone and a special spicy mustard. The pastrami, provolone and mustard were perfect. But, again the name of the deli accurately reflects the fact that my mother could've easily made this sandwich with common ingredients from any grocery store. The sandwich isn't a particularly difficult thing to make on your own, which is why I expect a deli to raise its game with fresh baked breads and uncommon ingredients. So's Your Mom takes us only halfway there.
As for those bagels? Mine (the everything, below) was enjoyable, but rather small, and hardly anything to rave about. Is a good bagel really so hard to find in the District?
So's Your Mom is good, but doesn't quite meet the expectations raised by its trash-talking title. Still, it only needs a little boost (upgrade in bread!) to put its money where its mouth is...