Lee's Deli

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cronots.jpgLee's cronots, which should absolutely not, under any circumstances, be confused with cronuts.

Location
737 Russell Boulevard
University Mall on the Anderson Road side
Hours (still in flux)
10 AM - 10 PM Mon - Sat
10 AM - 9 PM Sun
Phone
(530) 750-0737
Website
[WWW]http://www.leesdeli.com/
[WWW]Facebook
Owner
Lee Quan
Established
August 27, 2013
Payment Methods
Type of payment

Lee's Deli is a new restaurant in Davis, featuring a sandwich station, noodle soup station, salad bar, Chinese food bar, dim sum, sushi, soup bar, pastries, bagels, and beverages. They also sell "cronots," a hybrid between a croissant and donut, similar to the (trademarked) "cronut" (but obviously entirely different). A cronot is a laminated dough torus and is sold for $2.50; some of these have glazes or are rolled in granulated sugar.

How it works: walk in, grab a to-go box for your food if you want buffet choices, or approach the soup/sandwich area on the north wall of the restaurant. Pay for your food on the west wall, and sit at tables all on the south wall of the room.

For buffet choices (the cold stuff is the salad fixings and sushi, the hot stuff is the dim sum and Chinese entrees), you put whatever quantity of items in your box and take it to the register for weighing. You pay the same price-by-weight ($6.95/lb) for both hot and cold, so it feels like a better $/calorie value for the hot stuff vs the lettuce. Similar hot/cold buffet-in-a-box options are available at the Food Coop and at Nugget.

Soup: request your noodle (ramen, udon, and a third), request your broth (such as miso, "udon," or "tonkotsu"), and you get the option of adding wontons. The soup comes in a plastic bowl with various toppings. On 8/29/13, my ramen had fish cake, pickled daikon, half a baby bok choy, half a hard-boiled egg, canned corn, wakame, fresh cilantro, noodles, and broth. For an up-charge, you can add a few more vegetables, chicken, or char siu to the soup. There is also soup on the hot buffet which is paid for by volume (akin to Safeway serve-yourself soup of the day).

Sandwich: choose your bread, choose your fillings. Some are pre-set, others have more flexibility. It seemed like you can choose whether your meat is heated before being added to the sandwich.

As of 2013, Lee's had 11 other locations, primarily in San Francisco (and one in Berkeley).

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Comments:

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2013-09-01 19:48:29   I was not that impressed with the cronots. First of all, they were not fresh, even though I was there not long after the restaurant opened... they had clearly been refrigerated. (I don't know if they are made elsewhere and shipped?) Second, I'm a bit of a croissant snob, and these were definitely not light and flaky the way a croissant should be. Basically, it was not much different from eating an OK but not amazing donut. Then again, it's possible I just don't know what they are supposed to be like. I was expecting a cruller-like thing, but it was dense like a cake donut. And for what it's worth, I thought they were better with cream than without. I haven't tried their food yet; that's for another day. Hoping they put some tables outside. —CovertProfessor


2013-09-03 14:32:44   $6.95/lb for hot/cold food. Didn't think the price was too bad until I filled up my box with what I thought was minimal food and it came out to $7. I had a very small serving of chow mein (probably about three bites), a fist size of string beans, 5 pieces of broccoli and one Shanghai dumpling. I wasn't impressed with the taste either. The string beans were slightly raw. The Shanghai dumplings weren't as juicy as I expected it to be. The food wasn't great but it wasn't horrific. But for the price I paid, I feel I would be more satisfied if I walked to Subway, Ohana, Old Teahouse, or Trader's Joe. I didn't try the salad bar or the sandwiches. —BingL


2013-09-12 20:00:35   Sandwiches are good, classic, large deli sandwiches. Nothing special, so don't expect it to compare to Zia's, but decent and well priced.

The hot food buffet had a wide selection, but is way too expensive, and it's not very good. If you fill up a to-go box about 3/4 of the way you're looking at about $10-$15 (under $6 at Hunan for the same amount of food). Just go to Hunan. —GarrettGallegos


2013-10-22 00:20:19   I tried the per pound buffet. I wasn't that bad if you pick the right foods, but for 6.95/lb it's not worth it. My 2 eggrolls, 4 peices of orange chicken, 2 shanghai dumplings, 2 siu mai, a small serving of eggplant, curry chicken, steamed fish came out to $13. The steamed fish, eggplant and curry were pretty good but the rest were just average. The orange chicken were way too hard with way too much batter and sauce. The other stuff I didn't get looked either old and dry or not very appealing. The sushi looked worse than the ones from safeway. If you want shanghai dumplings, go to an authentic shanghainese restaurant that's know for them. no other places are good. The only thing that was good was their customer service. Their buffet is a rip off. I definitely won't be going back to Lee's —shacheung


2014-01-18 14:27:58   YUM. I just ate at Lee's for the first time. I went for the hot food salad bar. First the service was excellent - the person at the register and the manager were really friendly and helped guide me through the options. Then the food was great, I especially liked the fish: fresh and not overcooked! Amazing. I had a filling volume of food on my plate (only premium items, no rice and noodles) and a small soup for $9.50. With the quality of the food, I thought it was a good deal. I'll be back for sure. —toolej


2014-02-01 18:33:29   I go here because I live next to it, otherwise I wouldn't bother. No complaints on the hot bar, but the sandwich I had was super bland. Bland bread, really bland roast beef and mediocre vegetables. —ScottB


2014-02-02 23:34:15   I cannot tell you how much love I have for this place. Getting lunch for the next day for $3 is great, and it comes in the microwavable container too. Also, dim sum in Davis is hard to come by and it's pretty okay here. I just don't want everyone in town to know about this to assure I can still get my half off meals. —MilesThomas


2014-03-31 21:24:45   I'm going to have to take back the nice things I said about this place. They switched from a pay-by-weight system to the Panda Express style, where you get 1, 2, or 3 entrees with some starch (like chow mein or fried rice) for a fixed price, and no longer discount the food after 9:00pm.

It's clearly not doing too well by the attendance frequently seen in the restaurant (to say I frequented Lee's prior to this change would be an understatement), and it never really marketed itself on campus or in town. It's a shame that they went this route to cover costs rather than branding itself a la Woodstocks. They could have even hired some college students/recent grads as unpaid marketing interns. Goodnight, sweet restaurant. —MilesThomas

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