Yes, the Spicy Pickle's pickles are spicy. I know you wanted to know.
Served with the counter-service restaurant's sandwich platters, they're prepared with a brine that contains enough red pepper to make them really and truly spicy, although the flavors of garlic and dill manage to beat their way through.
They were pretty tasty -- and definitely interesting -- and were among the things we liked about the Spicy Pickle, although there were other things we didn't like, not so much.
On the plus side: the bread. The operators of the Spicy Pickle seem to truly understand the art of the sandwich, and that a great sandwich starts with a foundation of great bread. Accordingly, they serve their grilled sandwiches on things such as rosemary focaccia and marble rye and the cold sandwiches on things such as ciabatta and multigrain, although they allow some switching back and forth and there also are wraps and flatbread pizzas.
The Yard Bird ($7.49) was served on the honey multigrain, and it was a definite winner. Grilled chicken breast had been cut into thick strips, which were layered onto the bread with a profusion of fresh spinach and chunks of Granny Smith apple, plus a schmear of honey mustard and bits of blue cheese and crisp bacon. We loved the size and shape of the chicken strips -- with more texture and flavor than chopped chicken would have had but much easier to eat than, say, a chicken-breast filet -- and the crunch of the apples, spinach and bacon and flavor accents from all provided welcome contrast to the neutrally flavored meat.
Given a choice of pasta salad or orange wedges (or a house salad for an extra $1), we were gratified to identify the latter as a healthy choice but of course chose the former, which turned out to be elbow mac in a light vinaigrette with some black pepper and tiny bits of what tasted like feta.
A special, the Three-Cheesini Combo ($6.99), held lots of promise, beginning with its nice marble rye and its red-ripe tomato and crisp red onion. The three cheeses -- Swiss, cheddar and provolone -- were an inspired choice, and the flavors melded nicely. There was one flaw, however, and that was that the sandwich hadn't been grilled as long as it should have been, so the bread didn't get a nice toasted texture and the cheeses didn't melt.
On the side was a good-sized bowl of a corn and green chili bisque, which had plenty of crisp-tender corn kernels and enough pepper to provide a healthy dose of spiciness, but the broth was lacking in body, especially for something labeled a bisque.
Which wasn't the case with the Loaded Baked Potato soup ($4.69/$3.69, depending on size), with small, again, being a generous size. This one really was loaded with flavor, but its base had too much body, in that it was kinda glutinous. Potato-based soups by their very starchy nature tend to be gluey, but a surfeit of that aspect took away from the quality of this soup.
As I said earlier Spicy Pickle is a counter-service spot, and the people behind the counter and those who brought our food (very promptly, I might add) and cleared our dishes were pleasant and efficient, so no complaint there.
No complaint, as well, about the atmosphere, which is suitably counter-service streamlined but perked up with lots of color, and comfortable booths and table seating.
So yes, we liked the Spicy Pickle's spicy pickles and its sandwiches, for the most part. But, especially with the weather warming up, we'd suggest a pass on the soups.
Las Vegas Review-Journal restaurant reviews are done anonymously at Review-Journal expense. Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at 383-0474 or email her at hrinella@ reviewjournal.com.