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The Grillery, and a sandwich called Steve

Overachieving weekday lunch counter packs flavor into industrial Poway

The Steve sandwich features tender, grilled sirloin, chili, vinegar, and cilantro.
The Steve sandwich features tender, grilled sirloin, chili, vinegar, and cilantro.

It’s in Poway, but probably not the part of Poway you’re thinking of. Most who go to this southeasternmost corner, along Scripps Poway Parkway, are going to work, going to Costco, or passing through on the way to Ramona. They aren’t going for sandwiches.

Place

The Grillery

14077 Stowe Drive, Poway

But as someone who used to work in this corner of Poway, I can attest: The Grillery’s handling of hot sandwiches adds lunchtime value to the area. And weekday lunch is what it’s all about: The Grillery is only open 10am 'til 2pm, Monday through Friday.

Which isn’t to say the entire grillery menu is stuck on sandwiches. There’s a small but memorable Asian fusion menu at play here. You can get a rice bowl or bento box featuring a prime take on the Korean beef, bulgogi, for example. Or teriyaki treatments of chicken, tofu, beef, or salmon. All between 10 and 12 bucks – an incredible deal, especially these days.

But what brought me all the way to outer Poway was the steak sandwich named Steve.

A small counter shop serving lunch in oPway's industrial southeast corner

I don’t know who the namesake Steve is, but there’s a lot of flavor packed into his $11 sandwich. And it’s not just the beef, though that’s a good place to start. The grilled sirloin is chopped into thin slices, each morsel tender. It’s spiced with chili vinegar, boosted by garlic, and loaded with cilantro and other greens, leading to a sandwich that’s boldly herbal and fairly spicy, with a bit of acidic bite besides.

I was initially unexcited that it was built on a ciabatta roll, but it was the right choice. A ciabatta can handle any juices seeping into the bread, and still maintain its integrity. Meaning its chewy crust holds up against all the big time flavors doing battle between the bread. I can’t think of a corresponding sandwich to compare it to, so might as well just call it Steve.

A sweet BBQ pork banh mi

A second sandwich reads a little like bibimbap on a ciabatta, with that bulgogi stacked with kimchi and a fried egg. More familiar is a BBQ pork banh mi. It’s not as robust or spicy as the Steve, but there’s still plenty of flavor to go with the crispy baguette, starting with sweet glazed pork, and pushed over the top by pickled carrots, jalapeños, and cilantro.

This place probably puts more cilantro on its sandwiches than anything but a torta shop, so if you’re among the fraction of people who dislike the stuff, you’d better say something when you order. It shouldn’t make too much difference in your enjoyment of the place, though. For an affordable, little counter shop operating in a remote corner of Poway, the quality of ingredients being used is surprising. I wish The Grillery had been an option when I still worked a couple blocks away.

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The Steve sandwich features tender, grilled sirloin, chili, vinegar, and cilantro.
The Steve sandwich features tender, grilled sirloin, chili, vinegar, and cilantro.

It’s in Poway, but probably not the part of Poway you’re thinking of. Most who go to this southeasternmost corner, along Scripps Poway Parkway, are going to work, going to Costco, or passing through on the way to Ramona. They aren’t going for sandwiches.

Place

The Grillery

14077 Stowe Drive, Poway

But as someone who used to work in this corner of Poway, I can attest: The Grillery’s handling of hot sandwiches adds lunchtime value to the area. And weekday lunch is what it’s all about: The Grillery is only open 10am 'til 2pm, Monday through Friday.

Which isn’t to say the entire grillery menu is stuck on sandwiches. There’s a small but memorable Asian fusion menu at play here. You can get a rice bowl or bento box featuring a prime take on the Korean beef, bulgogi, for example. Or teriyaki treatments of chicken, tofu, beef, or salmon. All between 10 and 12 bucks – an incredible deal, especially these days.

But what brought me all the way to outer Poway was the steak sandwich named Steve.

A small counter shop serving lunch in oPway's industrial southeast corner

I don’t know who the namesake Steve is, but there’s a lot of flavor packed into his $11 sandwich. And it’s not just the beef, though that’s a good place to start. The grilled sirloin is chopped into thin slices, each morsel tender. It’s spiced with chili vinegar, boosted by garlic, and loaded with cilantro and other greens, leading to a sandwich that’s boldly herbal and fairly spicy, with a bit of acidic bite besides.

I was initially unexcited that it was built on a ciabatta roll, but it was the right choice. A ciabatta can handle any juices seeping into the bread, and still maintain its integrity. Meaning its chewy crust holds up against all the big time flavors doing battle between the bread. I can’t think of a corresponding sandwich to compare it to, so might as well just call it Steve.

A sweet BBQ pork banh mi

A second sandwich reads a little like bibimbap on a ciabatta, with that bulgogi stacked with kimchi and a fried egg. More familiar is a BBQ pork banh mi. It’s not as robust or spicy as the Steve, but there’s still plenty of flavor to go with the crispy baguette, starting with sweet glazed pork, and pushed over the top by pickled carrots, jalapeños, and cilantro.

This place probably puts more cilantro on its sandwiches than anything but a torta shop, so if you’re among the fraction of people who dislike the stuff, you’d better say something when you order. It shouldn’t make too much difference in your enjoyment of the place, though. For an affordable, little counter shop operating in a remote corner of Poway, the quality of ingredients being used is surprising. I wish The Grillery had been an option when I still worked a couple blocks away.

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