Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Jason’s Deli

The best things in life are free, especially when it’s a soft-serve, vanilla-chocolate-swirl ice cream cone on the house without any rules forbidding a second indulgence.848spotlight.jpg

At Jason’s Deli, my inner child embraced this small thrill and needless to say, picked up a second cone before heading out.

Aside from this guilty-pleasure freebie that leaves dining-in patrons convinced they’ve banked a steal the restaurant isn’t smart enough to pick up on, Jason’s varied spread doesn’t cut corners when it comes to encouraging healthy eating. Specially-assigned symbols throughout its menu denote vegetarian and organic items.

The Spinach Veggie Wrap ($6.59), both vegetarian and organic, comes stuffed with sprouts, raw mushrooms, organic spinach, asiago cheese and homemade pico and guacamole. The guacamole alone saves this sprout-filled wrap from being a bore and instead makes healthy eating interesting again. And the variety doesn’t stop there. A side of fresh fruit, accompanied with a sweet creamy dip, fulfills the appetite without weighing heavy on the palette. Other sides offered with items from the “Real Choices” section of the menu include organic blue tortilla chips with salsa or steamed vegetables.

One of my guests went with the health-conscious Ciabatta Roast ($7.29) with organic field greens, roma tomatoes, sautéed onions, low-fat Swiss cheese, organic stone-ground mustard and bell peppers. All were stacked high on thinly-sliced, lean roast beef between two hearty slices of whole wheat cibatta bread. Talk about a mouthful, but one well worth the stretch. Like the Spinach Wrap, the vegetables here packed so many flavors that the good-for-you factor was sinfully disguised by the Ciabatta Roast’s tastes-so-good-must-be-bad-for-me taste.

Another guest was equally satisfied with their Chicken Panini ($7.29). Pressed between two liberal slices of olive oil-basted French bread, pieces of marinated chicken breast were aided by roma tomatoes, organic spinach, melted provolone cheese and basil pesto with pine nuts.

However, Jason’s wraps, paninis and hoagies – packed with health-conscious, savory ingredients – don’t stand alone. The Vegetarian Tomato Basil Soup ($2.79 cup, $3.79 bowl) comes with generous, but not overwhelming, tomato chunks stirred into this cream-based vegetarian twist on the usual non-vegetarian version, often cooked with chicken broth at other dining attractions. The cherry on top was the crowning layer of sprinkled mozzarella cheese. The Chicken and Sausage Gumbo ($3.79 cup, $4.79 bowl) could have lent more sausage, but still managed to fulfill with its satisfy helping of rice mixed in with the slow-cooked meat and okra.

In addition, Jason’s Deli employees are extremely helpful from the moment customers walk in the door to the minute they’re handing out a to-go box. The cashier recommended his own favorites, as well as explained which portions of the Salad Bar ($7.59) were complimentary to all dine-in customers. Other employees politely answered menu questions and cleared diners’ plates promptly, all exhibiting a competent level of customer service often hard to find in a fast-moving metropolitan area.

Word of on-the-house ice cream started this experience off without a hitch, which ended just as euphorically. In an area of working people often dependent on high-calorie convenience foods, the kindness of Jason’s Deli’s employees matched with its effort to keep menu options light make this fairly-new restaurant an ideal dining stop for anyone with an appetite for both naughty and nice.

Jason’s Deli
7505 Leesburg Pike

Falls Church, Va.
Open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.