Bennett's Pure Food

A Mercer Island deli that delivers wholesome, if disarmingly tasty, food.

If the deli at Bennett's Pure Food Bistro were in Seattle instead of downtown Mercer Island, its high, dark-wood communal table (where 'stay-in' lunchers sit) would be jammed with office drones hankering for pasta salads and grilled sandwiches. After a long drive to the sparsely filled eatery on a rainy lunch hour, I inhaled a panini ($5.45) with basil, tomatoes, and cheese, which was made interesting by the addition of mustard—the real kind, with mustard seeds—and mayo. My only complaint? It was too dinky. I got some standard-tasting Greek salad ($7.95/pound) with artichoke hearts, feta, sweet peppers, olives, and light vinaigrette to fill myself up. My meat-eating companion chomped a chicken ginger cabbage salad ($8.75/pound) that also contained carrots, red bell peppers, toasted sesame seeds, almond slivers, and green onions. She wished it were a bit more spicy, but thought those with a "less adventurous palate" would dig it. The little deli and the adjacent Bennett's restaurant (dinner Tuesday–Sunday, brunch Saturday and Sunday) are sister companies to Beecher's Handmade Cheese and Pasta & Co., whose products are for sale in the deli's case. And, aw, founder Kurt Beecher Dammeier named the bistro after one of his sons. Be glad said son wasn't named Moonbeam or something. MOLLY LORI 7650 S.E. 27th St. 206-232-2759, MERCER ISLAND

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