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Originally published Friday, October 28, 2011 at 5:32 AM

Dining Deal

Delicatus: classic and inventive sandwiches

Sandwiches both traditional and inventive are signatures at Delicatus in Pioneer Square.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Delicatus

Delicatessen

103 First Ave. S., Seattle, 206 623-3780

Hours: 11:30 a.m.- 8 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays and 11:30 a.m.- 9 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays

Etc: Visa and MasterCard accepted, no obstacles to access; street parking, serves alcohol.

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The owners of Delicatus are like kids in a candy store, stacking generous portions of bacon and deli meats on their sandwiches. Their mantra also seems to be: "There's no protein you can't turn into a good sandwich."

Owners Derek Shankland and Mike Klotz opened this Pioneer Square joint almost two years ago, with the goal of bringing a traditional deli to the city. But they seem to have more fun putting their spins on the classics. This fall, the guys will also start a monthly guest-chef dinner, with food-and-wine pairings.

The menu: Sandwiches are split into two categories: traditional (such as roast beef and BLTs) or originals. The latter are homages to the classics such as their take on a Cuban sandwich and banh mi. Sandwiches range from $8-$9 and come with kettle chips. Substitute coleslaw or potato salad for 90 cents, a house or Caesar salad for $2, or soup or oyster chowder for $2.50.

What to write home about: Its signature Shank Lamb sandwich ($9), with strands and pieces of gamy braised leg of lamb and some heat, served on toasted bread. It tastes best when doused with a generous amount of chive aioli. In the Seattle Cure ($8.75), cured albacore and salmon on a toasted panino roll, the layers of sweet peppers and lemon-caper aioli balance nicely with the salty fish. For those less adventurous, there's roast beef with sautéed onions, horseradish aioli, lots of melted provolone and au jus to dip.

What to skip: Their take on the banh mi (Fist of Fury, $8.50) with pulled pork and a colorful display of carrots, peppers, cucumbers, cabbage and tobiko caviar. It was dry and overworked, and it needed mayo.

The setting: High ceiling, exposed brick wall and open kitchen with counter seats. It used to be a warehouse space. There are also tables in the back, a bar, as well as an upstairs dining area. Space is much bigger than this deli needs it to be.

Summing up: Four sandwiches including tax totaled $37.78. Serves four. Most traditional sandwiches are served on loaf bread while most of the deli's originals are served on rolls.

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or tvinh@seattletimes.com

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