Review: Deluxe Station Diner

The spread is homey, and the décor is steampunky — but the drinks are where it’s at
By ROBERT NADEAU  |  February 23, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars

FOOD022511_DSD_main 
DELI DELIGHTS Of the many, many things to eat at DSD, the deconstructed chicken pot pie is a real winner.

Despite breakfast all day, comfort food, the over-abundant choices of a deli menu, and the Jules Verne decorative contraptions of artist Mark Fisher — the most remarkable items at Deluxe Station Diner are things to drink. On the alcohol side, someone is making in-house bitters and grenadine, and using them to craft classic cocktails of depth and complexity. For more deli-cate tastes, they have the full line of Dr. Brown's sodas ($2.50), including the classic (if dreadful) "Cel-Ray" tonic — a culinary bit of Edwardian sci-fi all by itself — and an authentic"NYC egg cream" ($2.50).

My cocktail opinion is based on a Ward 8 ($8), featuring so much of the house grenadine it appears pink rather than the usual orange. No problem, as the sourness of rye whiskey and lemon and the dash of bitters make for a bracing, refreshing, and deceptively easy drink. They also produced, on a cold evening, an outstanding hot toddy ($8), a drink that seldom tastes as good as the idea of it, hot whiskey being rather like hot sake, only more so.

The egg cream — it has no eggs or cream, but develops a brief frothy head achieved by spritzing seltzer onto a base of strong chocolate milk — shows similar attention to detail. If they are not using the canonical Fox's U-Bet syrup, they have found a substitute with the warmth of invert sugar (also a key to Godiva chocolate, if you ever want to counterfeit that).

They only have four beers on draft, but one is Smuttynose IPA from New Hampshire ($5), and another is Mayflower (yes, from Plymouth) Porter ($5). The latter is toasty rich and warm, so what else is necessary? Perhaps something lighter, and a bottle of Oregons Full Sail Session Lager ($4) has a nice hit of cascade hops in what is otherwise an American-style beer.

Back to breakfast. My benchmark is hash and eggs ($10.50). The hash is an ethics test for the chef, and Deluxe Station hash is curiously all shredded corned beef. Good, but salty when un-moderated by onions and potatoes. The potatoes are home fries taking up half the oversized platter, big chunks and not so seasoned, but excellent home fries. The dropped eggs are correct. And they offer toast or salad. Are they kidding?

Pastrami and eggs ($9.50) is a classic omelet, but beware of the hot pastrami on rye, "NYC deli style" ($8.95). It is not. New York pastrami is steamed and handcut; Boston pastrami, with a few exceptions, has always been sliced and boiled to a flavorless, fatty mess. That's the case here. A Cubano ($8.95) isn't grilled and isn't clear on which kind of Cuban sandwich it is trying to be, but with two kinds of pork and pickles, it's good eating. A shrimp quesadilla ($9.95) is the usual mélange of flavors but so generously stuffed you will take half home for further analysis. A really positive surprise is the Middle Eastern Platter ($12.50) with quite good falafel, tabouli, and an unbilled garlic-yogurt-cucumber salad, and passable feta, pita triangles, olives, hummus, salad, and a hard-boiled egg (is that what puts it on the breakfast menu?)

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Related: The Spot Café, Dan’s Place, The Daily Grill, More more >
  Topics: Restaurant Reviews , Steampunk, american cuisine, chicken pot pie,  More more >
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