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    Celebrity Delly bears not even a passing resemblance to a big-city delicatessen; there's no hustle and bustle, no rough edges, no rudeness behind the counter. Planted in a Best Western hotel on the corner of West Colonial Drive and Tampa Avenue, the restaurant is relatively nondescript in a vinyl-upholstered, Formica-table-topped kind of way.

    For many fans on the west side of town, lunch just wouldn't be lunch without a fix of triple-stacked sandwiches, piled high with top-shelf meats and served with kraut, pickles, slaw, steak fries and all the trimmings. Some of them have followed the restaurant for more than 10 years as it hopscotched from Lee Road to Altamonte Springs to its current location.

    For many fans on the west side of town, lunch just wouldn't be lunch without a fix of triple-stacked sandwiches, piled high with top-shelf meats and served with kraut, pickles, slaw, steak fries and all the trimmings. Some of them have followed the restaurant for more than 10 years as it hopscotched from Lee Road to Altamonte Springs to its current location.

    True to its name, the restaurant is filled with portraits of famous people, from the legendary ("Prince" and "Daffy Duck") to neo-celebs such as "Mr. T." The sandwiches are named accordingly, from the "Bogie Burger" to "The Duke" roast-beef sandwich. Extremely hungry is an excellent state to be when you sit down to dine – you will not leave that way, as the sandwiches are famously oversized.

    True to its name, the restaurant is filled with portraits of famous people, from the legendary ("Prince" and "Daffy Duck") to neo-celebs such as "Mr. T." The sandwiches are named accordingly, from the "Bogie Burger" to "The Duke" roast-beef sandwich. Extremely hungry is an excellent state to be when you sit down to dine – you will not leave that way, as the sandwiches are famously oversized.

    There was a time when richly spiced cold cuts, condiments and pickled things were considered delicacies, or "delicatessen," as they say in Germany. That has changed somewhat, now that bagel shops are on every main thoroughfare and Reubens are available just about everywhere but Burger King. Still, there are standbys that haven't entered our culinary consciousness, though. A chopped-liver sandwich on pumpernickel, washed down with an egg-cream soda? A fried potato pancake with applesauce and sour cream? You'll find them here.

    There was a time when richly spiced cold cuts, condiments and pickled things were considered delicacies, or "delicatessen," as they say in Germany. That has changed somewhat, now that bagel shops are on every main thoroughfare and Reubens are available just about everywhere but Burger King. Still, there are standbys that haven't entered our culinary consciousness, though. A chopped-liver sandwich on pumpernickel, washed down with an egg-cream soda? A fried potato pancake with applesauce and sour cream? You'll find them here.

    There are dozens of you-pick, they-stack sandwiches built with ham, turkey, knockwurst, salami, bologna, rare roast beef, liverwurst, chicken and tuna salad, and more. The "Mighty Milty" ($5.75) is as good a choice as any, featuring about a half pound of hot, juicy pastrami, piled high, topped with melted provolone cheese, cole slaw and Russian dressing on fresh rye bread. The meats were lean, evenly spiced and just salty enough to snap tastebuds to attention, and the bread was at its peak. Another good bet is "The Brando" ($5.95), created from thin-sliced roast beef and turkey, layered with Swiss cheese, onions and horseradish.

    There are dozens of you-pick, they-stack sandwiches built with ham, turkey, knockwurst, salami, bologna, rare roast beef, liverwurst, chicken and tuna salad, and more. The "Mighty Milty" ($5.75) is as good a choice as any, featuring about a half pound of hot, juicy pastrami, piled high, topped with melted provolone cheese, cole slaw and Russian dressing on fresh rye bread. The meats were lean, evenly spiced and just salty enough to snap tastebuds to attention, and the bread was at its peak. Another good bet is "The Brando" ($5.95), created from thin-sliced roast beef and turkey, layered with Swiss cheese, onions and horseradish.

    Side items are a must, particularly the chunky cole slaw ($1.30) that emphasizes red cabbage, and a cup of matzo-ball soup ($2.25) that is so flavorful it actually makes chicken soup an exciting option for lunch. Steak fries are worth the extra expense, too; it was thoroughly soft and fluffy inside, crisp outside. A half order will more than suffice ($1.25), unless that's all you're eating. The only let down was the leaden New York cheesecake ($2.25).

    Side items are a must, particularly the chunky cole slaw ($1.30) that emphasizes red cabbage, and a cup of matzo-ball soup ($2.25) that is so flavorful it actually makes chicken soup an exciting option for lunch. Steak fries are worth the extra expense, too; it was thoroughly soft and fluffy inside, crisp outside. A half order will more than suffice ($1.25), unless that's all you're eating. The only let down was the leaden New York cheesecake ($2.25).

    Lunch-only Celebrity Delly closes at 2:30 p.m. weekdays, but breakfast is served all week long, with hot-off-the-griddle combinations of eggs, omelets, corned-beef hash, pancakes and French toast.

    I have a secret to tell you, one that might shake up everything you think you know. We did not invent good food. The concept of interesting flavors and combinations of ingredients did not appear full blown with our generation, or the one before us.

    We have become so accustomed to "the next great thing", so enamored of trends, that we overlook cuisines that have stayed the same for hundreds of years. Often they are the products of hardship and necessity, but they've survived – and this is a pretty radical notion – because they are good.

    We have become so accustomed to "the next great thing", so enamored of trends, that we overlook cuisines that have stayed the same for hundreds of years. Often they are the products of hardship and necessity, but they've survived – and this is a pretty radical notion – because they are good.

    Shame on those monolithic tourist-trap facades claiming to be restaurants, with blazing microwaves and lowered opinions of their guests, able to provide neither the steak nor the sizzle. I would challenge any nouveau-cuisine kitchen Wunderkind who slaps a truffle on a shrimp and calls it "fusion" to dine at Chef Henry's Café and say afterwards that they can prepare a more satisfying dinner.

    Shame on those monolithic tourist-trap facades claiming to be restaurants, with blazing microwaves and lowered opinions of their guests, able to provide neither the steak nor the sizzle. I would challenge any nouveau-cuisine kitchen Wunderkind who slaps a truffle on a shrimp and calls it "fusion" to dine at Chef Henry's Café and say afterwards that they can prepare a more satisfying dinner.

    The Café itself is unpretentious, harbored in a strip mall just past the point where you figure you must have passed it, there's nothing out here, when there it is next to the 7-11. A storefront establishment, the simple decor done up in sherbet colors of salmon and green does nothing to distract from the quality of the food. This is Henrich Brestowski's other place, a scant 2-1/2 miles down Howell Branch Road from the Tip-Top Bistro, where he updates classic European dishes with great results. Here Brestowksi barely swerves from tradition, making flour spaetzel dumplings by hand and slow-simmering split pea soup.

    The Café itself is unpretentious, harbored in a strip mall just past the point where you figure you must have passed it, there's nothing out here, when there it is next to the 7-11. A storefront establishment, the simple decor done up in sherbet colors of salmon and green does nothing to distract from the quality of the food. This is Henrich Brestowski's other place, a scant 2-1/2 miles down Howell Branch Road from the Tip-Top Bistro, where he updates classic European dishes with great results. Here Brestowksi barely swerves from tradition, making flour spaetzel dumplings by hand and slow-simmering split pea soup.

    Hungarian and Bohemian specialties like golubky – cabbage rolls stuffed with beef and pork and served with sauerkraut – or veal bratwurst cooked in mustard sauce (both $9.95) are prepared faithfully to tradition. This is a restaurant that is proud of the food it makes; nobody would stew dark chicken meat for the chicken paprikash ($11.95) until it falls apart at the touch of a fork unless they truly wanted people to enjoy it. The Café focuses on schnitzel, either pork or veal pounded thin and quickly sautéed, by serving it several different ways. Depending on the accompaniment, cream or wine sauce, simply breaded or topped with cheese, the meat takes on totally different flavors (the dishes range from $10.95 to $13.95).

    Hungarian and Bohemian specialties like golubky – cabbage rolls stuffed with beef and pork and served with sauerkraut – or veal bratwurst cooked in mustard sauce (both $9.95) are prepared faithfully to tradition. This is a restaurant that is proud of the food it makes; nobody would stew dark chicken meat for the chicken paprikash ($11.95) until it falls apart at the touch of a fork unless they truly wanted people to enjoy it. The Café focuses on schnitzel, either pork or veal pounded thin and quickly sautéed, by serving it several different ways. Depending on the accompaniment, cream or wine sauce, simply breaded or topped with cheese, the meat takes on totally different flavors (the dishes range from $10.95 to $13.95).

    If you enjoy fine cooking, you will be pleased enormously by these dishes. If you have any Slavic blood deep in your heritage, this food will nourish your psyche like mothers milk. The tang of sour cream and the mellow taste of paprika will stir some genetic memory of evenings in Prague or Lubin, places you've barely heard of. Your great-grandmother's voice from the Vast Beyond will resonate in your brain and ask if Estera Brestowski's apple strudel is better than hers, and with regrets but deep satisfaction, you will have to answer yes.

    When Brennan's of Houston started the whole chef's table phenomenon back in 1985, the thought was that a little cook-diner interaction in the kitchen (and not the kind doled out at the local Benihana) would offer patrons a glimpse into the world of the culinary artist, while providing a testing ground for the chef's creativity. Since then, the concept has been watered down, as happens to trends, though that hasn't prevented the local foodie trail from passing through Winter Garden, where the Chef's Table sits within the historically quaint walls of the Edgewater Hotel.

    Chef's Tables, plural, might be a more apropos moniker for Kevin and Laurie Tarter's restaurant. The intimate dining room has about 10 tables, all in full or partial view of the kitchen where Kevin and sous-chef Crystal Womelsdorf, both alumni of Disney's California Grill, ply their craft. But intimate as it is, don't expect any cozy confabs with the chef, though a small window of banter opportunity does exist if Tarter serves a course at your table himself. On my visit, it was Womelsdorf serving the appetizer course, but the flourishes emerging from her kitchen were impressive nevertheless.

    A three-course prix fixe menu ($46.99) puts the focus on quality, the proof being in the pudding that came in the form of a luscious foie gras crème brûlée. Green apples and goat cheese complete the flavor trifecta of this decadently creamy delicacy. Simplicity is a virtue in the torte; the earthy wild mushrooms and assertive gruyère cheese give weight to this flaky first course. A mushroom reduction and beurre blanc sauce validates Womelsdorf's ascension in the kitchen, temporary though it may have been.

    Mains are also superbly, and confidently, executed. Two fat medallions of sesame-crusted, sushi-grade tuna were perfectly seared and elegantly propped on a bed of Asian slaw and noodles that lent a pleasant crunch to the dish. (You may find yourself asking for more wasabi mayonnaise.) Fire-grilled New York strip was lent flair by a blue cheese'red wine emulsion and well-whipped mashed potatoes. The Tarters are both budding sommeliers, so it's no surprise that wine pairings (an optional three-glass offering, $21.99) are thoughtfully listed for every dish. A fresh, delicate glass of Leon Beyer pinot blanc ($8) with the fish and a hearty Langhorne Crossing shiraz-cabernet ($8) with the steak proved ideal complements.

    For the final course, berries sauté consist of an irresistible mix of blue-, black-, straw- and raspberries floating in a Grand Marnier sauce, along with a sweet biscuit and a dollop of vanilla ice cream. I didn't care much for the biscuit ' I would've preferred a spongy cake of some sort. The thick peanut butter crème anglaise made the chocolate soufflé a too-substantial meal-ender. If you fancy a savory fromage rather than a sweet finale, a modest five-cheese tasting course ($14.99) is also offered for your post-meal pleasure.

    And pleasure is central at the Chef's Table. Kitchen creations aside, the wood floors and beautiful stained glass enhance the aesthetic gratification, and if you happen to dine here as the sun sets, you'll find yourself awash in a warm, luminescent glow ' although, sun or no sun, that's sure to happen anyway.

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