Okay, so it calls itself a deli...but it's more like a combination of bistro, sports bar and wine bar...with a downstairs "Foodie's Market" thrown in for good measure (just in case you want to take some treats home with you...and, trust me, you will).
The upstairs dining scene was casual, yet cozy...with piped in music and flat-screen TVs (turned down) airing college football games. Service was fine in a Bennigansesque way...friendly and adequate.
After ordering a couple of glasses of wine from the surprisingly diverse wine list (plenty to choose from by the glass with generous pours), we were started with a complimentary "amuse-bouche" of cold, crunchy kosher dills...they were delightful!
We arrived a little too early to order from the dinner menu, so we decided to while away the 20 minutes with a charcuterie platter. Datz offers two "flites" of charcuterie...three choices of cheeses, meats and pates for $15 and five choices for $19. We went for broke with the five-course offering (we selected Lamb Chopper, Point Reyes Bleu, Grafton Four-Year-Old Cheddar, Pate of the Day and Dry Salami). It was beautifully presented with nice baguette slices, imported olives and chutney...we probably could've stopped with that and been satisfied, had we not been in full-on blog mode.
Next, we tried a couple of soups. I got the Southwest Chili, which was absolutely fabu. It was more meat than beans, with some lovely roasted corn thrown in for good measure. It also struck what I thought was a very pleasing balance of sweet and heat. In a word...exceptional.
UD opted for the soup of the day...a Creamy Carrot Bisque with Ginger and Coconut. While it was fresh and flavorful, it didn't knock my socks off (to be fair, carrots don't really excite me unless they're in cake)....however someone practically licked the bowl clean.
Datz's dinner menu features "Vintage American Regional Classics", and the ones we tried were pretty well done (and for $18 each, they should've been). I opted for Shrimp and Grits, which I really enjoyed...even if they didn't completely transport me back to Charleston. The Anson Mills grits with Gouda were insanely good and the greens were fresh and flavorful. The shrimp and creole sauce were nice, if not particularly memorable...I thought the grits were the star of my dish <3
UD ordered one of the specials of the day...a Chicken-Fried NY Strip with Mashed Potatoes and Peas. Having been born and raised in Middle Tennessee, I do lubs me some chicken fried steak...and this one was kicked up several notches. It was SO good! Now, where's a Roto-Rooter for the arteries when you need one??? The potatoes were obviously freshly mashed and flavorful with the right ratio of lumps-to-creamy, but arrived somewhat cold. Peas aren't my favorite veggie, but they are one of UD's...and he cheerfully hoovered them all down.
Hell-bent on shoehorning a dessert down our already-stuffed gullets, we ordered a slab of the Red Velvet Cake, which I can confidently say was the best I've ever had. It was quite moist for a Red Velvet (they often aren't) and the cream cheese frosting was generously piled on while somehow managing to refrain from being toothache-inducingly sweet. What's not to love about a wonderful piece of cake that's bigger than your head? I think I burned the caloric content of the entire meal just lifting it! Between the two of us, we managed to finish about a quarter of the slab.
"Can we adopt it???"
Final word: I really liked this place, but it can get expensive for a "deli" (we ran up a $125 tab with three glasses of wine apiece)...however,we did order a lot more than we were able to eat (it was our first visit and we saw so many things on the menu we wanted to try). I think in the future we'll forego entrees and just enjoy charcuterie, wine, soups and small plates...and I also want to try Rootbeer Baked Beans!