Some sandwiches are like slipping on a pair of old slippers. They're comfortable and easy and you don't think about them until the next time they're right in front of you.
Pickerman's Soup & Sandwiches (116 West 63rd Street) is hoping to get your attention with a primary-colored, hand-drawn window sign that lets you know the Brookside joint is the "home of the California Classic." The colorful reminder worked and I walked inside yesterday.
Pickerman's is a step back to an era when delis had lacquered wood tabletops and you ordered turkey and liked it, damn it. A drawing of the Diet Coke logo graces the wall by the cash register, an homage to the drink that spawned so many addicts before the appearance of Coke Zero. In an era of topping-laden burgers and make-your-own sandwich bars, Pickerman's low key style is easy to forget.
The California Classic ($5.99) is a throwback to when California meant avocado. It's a simple sandwich -- turkey, hickory smoked pepper bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato and mayo. Although thick slices of wheat bread (white and rye are also available) keep the sandwich together, you'll lose a lot of shredded lettuce in your first few bites and the fat slices of avocado will want to squirt out the sides. Since there's an abundant amount of lettuce, you won't miss what falls out and it actually improves the composition of the sandwich.
Pickerman's signature sub is a little bit salty and a little bit fatty. Both are good things. And while the bacon could be crispier, this is still the pleasant offspring of a turkey club and BLT. While I won't rush to make another date with the California Classic, it's still nice to sit down for a bite with a straightforward sandwich, because lunch doesn't have to be complicated to be tasty.