Jay Fox's Dining Guide
Who's got the best roast beef sangie in town?
“The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years, she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.” — Calvin Trillin
G AND I HAVE BEEN PIGGIN’ OUT. I’m not referring to the terrific BBQ place of the same name, Piggin’ Out Bar-B-Que (9987 Morrison Rd, Lakewood, 303/988-2749; www.pigginout.com), owned by fellow Buckeye Mike Rusinko, but the fact that G and I dined at 240 Union (240 Union Blvd, Lakewood, 303-989-3562; www.240union.com) on Friday nite and at the Capital Grille (1450 Larimer St, Denver, 303/539-2500; www.thecapitalgrille.com) on Saturday nite.
If you haven’t tried the chicken-fried lobster tail at 240 Union (G’s fav) or the lamb chops with the cherry chutney at the Capital Grille (my fav), then you haven’t lived. Chef at the Capital Grille even made fresh strawberry ice cream so I shouldn’t starve cuz I only ate 40 pounds of lamb chops, two cups of the best clam chowder in town, two loaves of bread with real butter.
But on to the subject of today’s column: the lonely east end of Alaska Street at Belmar Center where the menu is so large and so perfectly executed, you can pig out every day. So far I’ve had at least two sangies every meal.
Somewhere around fifteen years ago, two fellas met in Steamboat Springs. Chris Delaney, a native Bostonian who operated several restaurants in SS, and Ben Halldren who had recently arrived from New Hampshire. Both came to SS because the restaurant industry there is the most popular way to earn a living and still have time to ski.
Chris had graduated from Boston College where he played hockey. He moved to SS so he could ski, and started his culinary career as a dishwasher in a small local eatery. Two weeks later he found himself running the place when the cook/manager got sick. It’s a long story.
Ben, the younger one had worked at The Woodshed, an upscale, dinner only, restaurant in Moultonboro, New Hampshire. He came west for similar reasons and was working as a grill cook at the Sheraton Steamboat when they met. Chris had worked his way up to sous chef and Ben as banquet manager. After several years both relocated to Denver and stayed close friends. Ben worked as banquet manager at the Adam’s Mark Hotel. Chris found employment outside the industry.
When Belmar opened, several delis had opened and shortly closed on the east end of Alaska Street. They didn’t last long. Ben’s wife was working at Belmar so shortly after the latest deli closed, she got the guys together and very shortly Ben and Chris decided that this was the opportunity they were destined to find. And Delaney’s was born.
The opening was January 24, 2008. Growth has been slow but steady. I’ve been there four times in the past ten days and it’s always busy with lotsa takeout orders and customers like me and G who love to watch cooks doing their things in an open kitchen. The restaurant seats about 25 and there are several tables and chairs out front soes you can watch the traffic.
The menu is huge for a small deli. Since it’s not organized like most eateries (appetizers, salads, soups, entrees, etc.), I’ll start with what I’ve eaten and talk about the rest.
The Slow Cooked roast beef is, according to KRFX-The Foxx radio comedian, Michael Floorwax, “The best roast beef in town.” I agree. I’ve had the sangies twice. The first sangie was a beautiful medium rare, and the second was more medium well, but both sangies were juicy and flavorful and very very delish. In fact, they were both superb. Outstanding. 2-die-4.
On our first visit Ben offered us a taste of anything we wanted, so we tasted the excellent New England Clam Chowda and the chicken salad. G had the Black & Blue Bugger — a super bugger with pastrami and bleu cheese on a fresh onion roll. She pronounced it maaavelous. I had two hot dogs with fries for starters, and a fantastic pressed Cubano sangie with chips. OK, so I ate only half of the sangie and took the rest for lunch. Had it two days later and it was still delish.
The hot dogs. Really good. You won’t believe how they’re cooked. I’m gonna keep it a secret for now. You gotta go and find out. But trust me, two dogs and fries AND a soft drink for a mere $6.95 is the best lunch deal in town. The buns are split and buttered and toasted and oh so tasty!
On my next visit I invited Michael Floorwax and his lady friend for lunch. I got there early, planning on having a coupla dogs for appetizers before lunch. Ben brought me a small sample of the ham and cheese with a warm spicy relish on a ciabatta roll. Oh my, quite yummy. Of course Floorwax walked in with his lady friend as I was into it, and he managed to finish it off for me.
Floorwax and his lady friend both had the Cobb Salad. She had it cuz she’s a girl and girls are always watching their weight, or so they say. Floorwax had the salad as an appetizer. He ordered his, “Hold the bacon, extra eggs, dressing on the side.” They both luved their salads. Then Michael ate one of my hotdogs. Then he ate half my slow cooked roast beef sangie. Sure glad they don’t have dessert or he’d have eaten half of my dessert. I should be thankful he didn’t eat all of my lunch, but he’s not greedy, and he always asks please, and he always sez thank you.
Visit number 3. It was a Sunday and the weekend menu was available. I’m not a breakfast person, so I had the tuna sangie ($6.75). It was perfect. The tuna here does not have pickles, pickle relish or anything remotely picklish. Or ticklish. Just wonderful tuna and mayo and a bit of something. G had the weekend special, Delaney’s Irish Breakfast — 2 eggs atop corned beef hash ($6.99). She went gaga. Sed it was the best she’d ever had. G tends to exaggerate, but she really luved the hash. I’DON’DO hash. Also on the weekend is fantastic homemade biscuits and gravy ($3.99), add 2 eggs scrambled for two bucks. And a whole messa egg dishes.
The next thing I’m gonna try is the meatloaf melt sangie. It’s either gonna be really good or really bad, cuz meatloaf is a dish you either really like or don’t. Of course with a side of hotdogs. Always have a side of hotdogs. They are That Good. After the meat loaf I’m gonna try the “Even slower cooked pulled pork.”
Then I’m gonna check out the rotisserie chicken salad, then the Philly Cheese Steak, then a bugger or two or three. The buggers are hand-packed and cooked to order, but it’s a deli and I gotta do the deli stuff first. Try the bahn yahd burgah: bugger with bacon, egg and cheese on a warm ciabatta ($6.96). Don’t know if this is really an extra penny or a typo on the website menu…. I like for it to be an extra penny. They even have a veggie bugger for sickos.
OK, so the menu does have some order to it. First are the (2) special sangies, then the (4) deli sangies then the (12) hot sangies, then the (10) buggers, then (5) combos, and now (8) salads and soups, and almost at the end (7) breakfast egg sammies and finally (10) weekend specials. I told you the menu was hugantic. But there’s no dessert. Ceptin cookies. Small cookies.
The wondrous breads, of which there are onion rolls, ciabatta bread, subs and a variety of others, are all made fresh by an old friend, the maaavelous baker, Michael Bortz (City Bakery, 5454 Washington St, Denver, 303-292-3989). Old timers will remember Michael and his great eatery from many years ago, Palmetto Grille. Ask Michael to make The Bomb. In addition to being a great baker, Michael is also a wondrous chocolatier.
Lastly, they serve what all great eateries serve. Diet Pepsi.
The menu board confused me abit, so here is how best I can figure it. Burgers come with chips or fries for $6.95-+. Combos are $8.25 with fries and a soft drink. Hotdogs come two dogs with fries and drink for $6.95. Deli sangies range in price from $5.45 to $6.75 and don’t come wit nuttin. Hot sangies are $6.95 +- and also don’t come wit nuttin. Salads range from $4.95 to $7.95. The cookies aren’t listed on the board so I don’t have a clue how much they cost, but they’re teeny so they can’t cost too much.
I’m sure by now you’re asking yourself howscum I don’t have anything negative to say about the food, cuz that’s what No More Mr. Nice Guy (me) does. OK, you want bad, I got bad. They don’t have much in the way of dessert, just the cookies. Made, of course, by City Bakery. The kitchen is rather small, and they don’t have room for desserts, but that still is bad. You want more bad? The napkins suck. I like real, thick, linen napkins. And these ain’t even close. They’re wussy. Don’t like the home made chips, cuz they’re not always warm. They get a bit soggy when they cool off. Need to be cooked fresh to order. So there.
Delaney’s is open daily from 9 am to 4 pm. If you don’t see what you want on the menu, or you want something a little different, they can and will do just about anything to make you happy. They make me and G happy every time we go. If you don’t go, you’ll be sad.
Jay Fox, The Statesman’s dining guide guy, has taken a quick break from all his accounting work during tax season to file this review. You can let him know what you think by emailing him at email@example.com.