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Dining review: Take a wildly successful trip to the deli

July 28, 2012|By Lisa Dupuy
  • The Chicken Club, of roast chicken with smoked Applewood bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, sprouts and mayo on a toasted ciabatta at Wild Carvery, on the corner of Olive Avenue and San Fernando Boulevard in Burbank, opened five weeks ago and serves natural meats and organic produce for sandwiches, salads, coffee and shakes.
The Chicken Club, of roast chicken with smoked Applewood… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

There should be a course at cooking schools called the Psychology of Restaurants. What makes us go into one restaurant and avoid another?

For instance, my personal biases make me resist places that look corporate and slickly merchandised. So I was a little distrustful of the new Panera-like Wild Carvery on Olive in Burbank. When I saw the words “organic,” “natural” and “fresh” bandied about like an Olympian volleyball, I grew even more suspicious. Then when I saw the pumped-up prices, I was sure I was going to hate this place.

Turns out, I enjoyed my meal immensely and left feeling nourished and rejuvenated. Not unlike the feeling you have after leaving a spa. This makes sense because the owners of Wild Carvery also own the popular rA Organic Spa just down the street. There, the motto is “physical, mental and spiritual renewal.” Through the use of pesticide- and hormone-free foods, ethically raised meats from family-owned ranches and produce grown in dynamic locales like the foothills of the Himalayas, they've brought that same goal of personal vitality to their food preparation.

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After ordering at the counter, we settled into the corner of this casual sunken eatery and watched the pedestrians go by at knee level. Moments later, we were presented with a tray of complimentary samples of South African vanilla rooibos tea. Unsweetened but naturally sweet and ruby- red in color, I'd definitely come back for a full-size order.

Then plate after plate of gorgeous greens surrounding impeccably built sandwiches arrived. Our sizable group made it possible to try quite a few, and I made quick work of tasting each one. Every meat has its own unique flavor. Even the meats in the mile-high Italiano sub ($10), which normally meld together in a sort of cold-cut cake, can be distinctly discerned. The nutmeg-y mortadella, fragrant ham and spicy salami are all nicely offset by the lemon basil, veggies and homemade dressing.

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