I reviewed “Dilly Deli” recently which prompted the manager to write to my through Urbanspoon and ask us to return for an encore of their food and service. We did and we were glad we did. The entire thing was flawless. I think our experience before was a fluke, a one-off on a slow night of the week. I learned quite a few things as the manager was kind enough to come over and talk with us for a long time about the establishment. Here is what we learned and what we had and how it was.
What we learned:
- The real name of it is now Dilly. (the period at the end is indeed part of the name). It is not The Dilly Deli, or The Dilly Cafe, it is Dilly..
- Dilly. is not for sale. My friends thought it was and that was considered but the owner decided that it was much too nice a place and he had too much heart invested there to let it go and decided to keep it.
- They did try to vary the menu at times. Some of their experiments were great, some were meh, and they brought back quite a few of the eternal favorites.
- The place was packed on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
- They have some unbelievable Belgian beers for drinking there and taking home, also some wonderful local and hard-to-come-by brews.
- They carefully pick the live music and don’t want to blast out the patrons. Good choice that!
What we had:
I am a simple person. It’s the end of the summer and I was very tempted by the gazpacho. I got it and it was perfect. The balance between naturally sweet and tart was right on target. The vegetables were all fresh, cut to a toothsome but manageable size for spooning. It was not too cold so as to be tasteless, but just right. The crostini it was served with had more than a great taste of popcorn mingled with toasted perfect bread. Get their gazpacho if it’s still on the menu, you won’t be sorry.
Then my Strand Salad with grilled chicken breast arrived. It was perfect as well. The chicken came right off the grill and made a beautiful hot counterpoint to the cool salad. Lots of fat lumps of goat cheese (which was attractive and not gamey) dotted the mix. The curry dressing was just right and the entire thing was a great pleasure.
My husband had a cup of the gazpacho, which he pronounced great. Then that was followed up with three perfectly seasoned and cooked crab cakes which he said were the best he ever had at Dilly. and he has loved their crab cakes always. The rice on the side was a poem. You don’t think that rice can be wonderful until you try this…it’s just plain long grain rice with butter and it is heaven.
Finally, we had the bread pudding which was a lovely mass of sticky starchy goodness, covered with a caramel sauce and dotted with almonds. Yes, it was decadent in the ineluctably comforting way that a fine bread pudding can be.
So, Dilly. showed us that they are still as fine as they ever were, a staple and must-do in Mariemont, where you go after a good movie next door, and the place you take your good friends who come to town and want to see places which make Cincinnati a treat destination.
Dilly., you get my vote and happily so. Going back soon.
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