Four Corners: Little Pickle

Craig OuthierMarch 3, 2023
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Photo by Angelina Aragon
Photo by Angelina Aragon
Phoenix
Little Pickle

Opened: December 2022
Ever since Houston’s decamped waaaay back in 2010, the Esplanade work-play complex in Phoenix has struggled to attract warm bodies. At its sleepiest moments, its once-lively promenade feels like a mausoleum. But, hey – at least now it’s a mausoleum with a decent bagel. Piled with buttery lox, cream cheese, red onion and capers, the Works Bagel ($14) is the flagship bite at this new fast-casual Jewish “pop-up” deli at the Esplanade, and it’s a first-class specimen, with just the right balance of toastiness and chew. (Available in six styles, the bagels here are imported from the East Coast, the owners report.) Conceived by MercBar honcho Rick Phillips and chef Aaron May (Over Easy), the breakfast- and lunch-centric menu (served from 6 a.m.-2 p.m.) also includes challah French toast (thick-cut and scrumptious, with a copious flagon of warm blackberry compote, $10), a you-call-it egg sandwich program ($6 to start) and a whitefish salad sandwich ($13) so succulent you’ll never settle for mere tuna again. Less impressive was the corned beef on rye ($14), a plain Jane offering no better than a high-quality supermarket sandwich. My mistake: not seeing the “Reuben style” option (Swiss cheese, 1,000 Island and sauerkraut, $3 surcharge) until the thing was already down my gullet. Allegedly, the deli will only stay open through Passover. Oy vey.

Wild Card: Go full yenta with matzo ball soup ($10). Nice broth, somewhat dry chicken. 

2501 E. Camelback Rd., 602-466-7098, littlepickleaz.com