Lunch Break (Downtown Albany)

Lunch Break: Saati Deli

I want to love Saati Deli, I really do. The recently opened Albany incarnation of this deli (you may be familiar with the original location in Latham) is in a convenient spot for downtown workers and offers a menu that is stacked with hearty breakfast and lunch options. Saati offers a lot of Mediterranean fare, grilled sandwiches, salads, and homemade soups. Prices are a bit on the high side.

Unfortunately, if I had one word to describe my first few experiences at Saati, it would be: inconsistent. Shortly after they opened, I tried the chicken shawarma wrap, and it was one of my favorite lunches in recent memory. The chicken was perfectly seasoned, there was a nice amount of smooth and creamy hummus mixed with chunks of tender onion, and the wrap was grilled and crispy. I went on another occasion to order the same item, and it was a soggy, sloppy mess. There were only a couple small bits of chicken swimming in a sea of hummus, and it completely fell apart after a few bites.

I convinced myself to give lunch at Saati Deli one more try, and ordered the falafel wrap and a side of macaroni salad.

Falafel Wrap at Saati Deli
Falafel Wrap at Saati Deli

One thing I that I love about this wrap, and others at Saati, is that it’s finished on the grill for a crispy effect.  I enjoyed the ratio of hummus to falafel on this sandwich, and the general portion size was satisfying.  The falafel wasn’t particularly remarkable, and it was seasoned a bit on the aggressive side.  A smattering of chopped vegetables (tomato, onion, and cucumber) added some textural contrast, but I wasn’t thrilled with the sharpness of the onion.

Macaroni Salad at Saati Deli
Macaroni Salad at Saati Deli

The macaroni salad has many of the elements that I praised in my review of A Better Bite Deli (shells! bits of egg and red pepper!), but this version doesn’t really compare. There is too much mayo, coupled with completely bland or non-existent seasoning, which mostly just leaves a taste of: mayo.

My lunch experience this time around at Saati Deli & Catering’s new Albany location was somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.  I still like the menu options and the opportunity for a warm, grilled sandwich or wrap for lunch. The falafel was passable, but nothing that I’m excited to recommend. The side salads could use some improvement. I want to believe that my original chicken shawarma experience can be repeated, and maybe with time the deli will work out some of its consistency issues. For now, this remains an acceptable lunch option if you’re in the immediate vicinity, but maybe not a place you would go out of your way to patronize.

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