Sandwiches/Subs in Central

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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.

    You can quibble and kvetch all you want about how Jason's isn't a real deli ' where's the matzo ball soup, you'll ask? The nova lox? Fair enough. I'll cede that this chain based out of Beaumont, Texas, doesn't conform to Delancey Street standards, but it's pretty much unrivaled on Colonial Drive. In fact, not since the days when Schlotzky's occupied a small space across from the Fashion Square Mall has there been a deli worth visiting in the area.

    And no matter what time you go, you're sure to witness some sweaty gym-rat spillage from the L.A. Fitness next door. But you can't blame them, considering Jason's guarantee of a trans fat'free dining experience, highlighted by a section of the menu devoted to 'healthy heart slimwichesâ?� ' wraps and sandwiches low in calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium. A decent salad bar ($6.59), properly attended to and always stocked with fresh vegetables, is another popular option for the health- conscious, not that the rest of the menu, with its paninis, wraps, salads, soups, po'boys, traditional sandwiches and muffulettas, is an artery-clogging affair. Muffulettas, by the way, are waggishly referred to as 'muffâ?� sandwiches, and those of you with enough gumption to order the 'whole muffâ?� ($10.99) with a straight face will be rewarded with an enormous 9-inch muffuletta filled with layers of provolone, olive mix and your choice of ham, salami or oven-roasted turkey (half- and quarter-muff sandwiches are also offered).

    I opted for the slightly less obscene-sounding Reuben the Great ($7.29). The corned beef wasn't hot, as advertised, but it was warm and piled high on Swiss-laid, doughy rye. What I really liked was that the sauerkraut was still crunchy and not overly sharp, likely because of a shorter fermentation cycle. My only complaint, and it's a small one, is that the soft bread ultimately succumbed to the beefiness and tore. The cup of chili-thick vegetable soup ($2.59) felt particularly comforting on this rainy evening with its heart-healthy broth of plump lima beans, corn and carrot wedges. The Sergeant Pepper po'boy ($6.59), a Texas take on the French dip sandwich layered with thin slices of roast beef, sauteed onions, bell peppers and a provolone smother, had a surprising kick, and a dunk in the jus made it all the more mouthwatering. Again, the only complaint was the texture of the bread; it could've used a bit more toasting. The barbecue brisket sandwich ($6.99), one of their daily specials, wasn't anywhere near as enjoyable as the others, primarily because of the overwhelmingly sweet sauce. Of course, you're free to custom-build your own sandwich from the assortment of meats, breads, fillers and dressings available.

    The gargantuan baked potatoes seem like byproducts of a nuclear accident, but the secret of their girth, I later found out, is the fusion of two large spuds to create an Atkins nightmare. Potatoes are baked for an hour, then microwaved when your order is placed. The spud au broc ($5.79), a meal in itself, is loaded with broccoli heads, green onions, bacon and gooey cheddar, though a petite half-size is available for $1 less.

    The sizable dining space is accoutred with ceiling fans and photographs of European cityscapes (which I thought slightly odd), and is designed to handle large numbers of patrons. Their system ' place your order, take a number, have a seat and wait for your food to be brought out ' isn't without its flaws. My strawberry shortcake ($2.99) failed to materialize, so I had to retrieve it myself from the counter. And I'm glad I did. The two layers of cake filled with cream, flavored with vanilla and topped with strawberry slices was a light and not-too-sweet capper.

    But there's no harm in saving your cash and settling for a cup or two of complimentary low-fat ice cream. Like most of the offerings here, it's a suitable antidote to guilty consciences.

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