Pastis Delicatessen & Eurogrille

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1935 S. Val Vista Drive, Mesa

Named for the anise-flavored liqueur that Parisians love to sip at after work, Pastis is a sleek deli/market/cafe with a relaxed vibe. That's because friends and partners Luka Muslin, Slaven Grubisha and Steve Djekic have lived and traveled throughout Europe playing soccer, and they hope to bring a bit of that stop-and-smell-the-roses sensibility to Mesa. The tiny market at the far end of the building features European cookies, jams, coffees and chocolates, while a refrigerated case near the entrance holds hard-to-find meats and sausages from Southern Europe. Except for the dainty French desserts prepared off premises, Slaven makes just about everything in-house, including rib-sticking sandwiches, Greek tzatziki and Serbian ajvar -- a mild, yummy relish of roasted red peppers and roasted eggplant. Although the partners never wanted to have a Serbian restaurant (too narrow a niche), it's the hearty sausages, breads and dumplings of Southern Europe that are most memorable here. Pierogi, lightly browned crescents of tender dough, stuffed with mashed potato and a soft mince of ground beef, make a terrific starter. And you don't have to be adventurous to love a simple sandwich of Sudjuk (spicy, dry-cured Bulgarian beef sausage) served between toasted slices of lepinja (puffy Bosnian flatbread) with slivers of raw onion. But then, if you're a sausage lover, you'll also like The Budapest (Hungarian sausage, roasted red peppers and melted cheese) and the Berlin (dense, flavorful brats with grilled onion and melted cheese). The entree selection may be a bit limited now but probably not for long. In any case, the pork tenderloin, stuffed with spinach and ladled with cheese sauce, is beyond good. Given the portion sizes and heavy nature of this food, it's hard to save room for dessert, but make the effort because the crepes (offered with various and sundry fillings are toppings) are worth every extra calorie. Check out the weekend brunch too. Lunch and dinner daily; weekend brunch. $-$$