I should feel ashamed of myself. For the longest time in my life, I never knew that the term “Deli” stood for Delicatessen. As a foodie, I should feel very ashamed of this. In fact, I’ll stop writing this review right now.
…I’m just kidding.
But thanks to Nevin and Kara’s new restraunt, The Dovetail Delicatessen. I’ve learned something new. If you don’t know who Nevin and Kara are, they’re the owners and operators of Edmonton’s popular Drift Food Truck, which is well known for their delicious sandwiches and fresh flavours. The Dovetail Deli is no different, in fact, I’d call it an extension of the Drift Food truck. The food is priced similarly ($8 for the roast sandwich of the day, $5 for soups and salads), and it is just as fresh. When you first walk into the cozy interior that is the Dovetail Deli, you’ll see immediately to your right is the carvery (fresh meat carving station), where Nevin is cutting slices of the days roast for the fresh, order-made sandwiches. Beyond that is the ordering counter and a glass cooler with their days salads and other nummy things like potato and pea samosas (which I regret not being able to try), and veggie tarts.
When you finally get to the order counter, you’ll notice a piece of paper that you think is a larger full sized menu since their big menu chalk board only shows the roast, soup, and salad, but nay, it’s their drinks menu, which is actually a lot bigger than I expected it to be. They have a great selection of both beers and wines, which I didn’t quite expect, but it’s awesome to see regardless. This left me slightly disappointed though because I had hoped that there would be more than just one sandwich to choose from. The Drift Food Truck itself usually offers 2-3 sandwiches everyday, so I was expecting a bit more variety than just the one daily roast. Never the less, I settled for days roast, which was the corned beef, with Yellowhead beer mustard and pickles, and the soup of the day, which was potato parmesan, while my friend got the same + a glass of wine, which she said was pretty good, even though I have no idea what wine she ordered. In a way though, having one roast a day is a good thing. It keeps you wanting to come back to try the next days roast, because it’s going to be different everyday, so it never gets boring. There’s always something new to try with each visit.
Soon you find yourself with a pretty little number and go look for a seat. The interior decor is overall very nice. It’s calming and relaxing, and unless you’re there during sunset, the large windows provide a nice relaxing, soft light that just makes you want chill there for a while. Even after eating, I felt super comfortable just hanging around there and chatting with my friend, and didn’t really feel the want to leave. I did however have to rush off to a job though… The walls have some decor, like an interesting lamp-like lighting on one side, and on the other side is a bar with photos of what looks to be a much older Edmonton and a circular plaque of Alberta on the wall that the bar faces. The photos of Edmonton look very interesting and I love the idea of seeing old photos of Edmonton, but I just wish they were bigger and maybe have more of them around as it felt a bit small and empty. But of course, this was the second day that Dovetail Deli had been opened, so there’s plenty of time for the walls to grow in decor and character.
The potato and parmesan soup was subtle and light, which I kind of liked. A lot of restaurants in this city tend to load all their soups with way too much salt, so a lighter tasting soup was very refreshing. The sandwich was as expected, also quite good. The corned beef roast meat was juicy and had a very delicate flavour to it, and the mustard complimented it very well, adding more flavour to the beef. The bread was a german bun, which was… just alright to be honest; I didn’t find it to be anything special – though it was fresh.
Then lastly came their in house pickles… now, this is the second time that Nevin and Kara have managed to do this to me. That is to say, they’ve made me like something that I hate. When I ate at the Drift Food Truck, someone told me that their fries were amazing, so I had to try them, and they were quite good as they were. But the fries also came with a tiny container of their homemade ketchup, which I didn’t really care for because I really don’t like ketchup. However.. their homemade ketchup was freaking amazing, and I couldn’t stop dipping my fries in it. The same thing happened with their pickles. I absolutely loathe pickles, I hate anything pickled, like cabbage rolls, pickled veggies, dill pickle chips, and even kim chi (don’t hurt me T.T). But that’s how you know that these guys were masters at what they do, because even though it’s weird to say it, I liked these pickles. The pickles complimented everything else in this sandwich like a symphonic quartet of flavour, and made the flavours dance delicately through my tastebuds. Mm-mm.
The only downside to this meal was that it was lunch, and the soup and sandwich had run me $13 already. Now, I personally try to keep my lunch budget to $10 maximum, and I’ve been doing this since… 6 years ago? So naturally, it’s harder to keep this $10 budget for lunch these days, what with our crappy economy and monetary inflation, but still, I try my best. So I was $13 in for lunch already, and I wasn’t very full at all. The sandwich, though delicious, was very average sized, and the soup was slightly smaller than I had expected it to be, leaving a empty space in my stomach that was nagging at me to be filled. So I decided to grab some of their potato crisps, which are also available on their Drift Food Truck. The chips are light and crispy and seasoned with their “drift spice”, which is flavourful yet not overpowering. I’m also one of those people who love it when chips “curl” or “fold over” themselves into clover shapes, and their crisps have a lot of these, which is pretty awesome. It also came with a little container of their Aji Sauce, which is a pepper and cilantro aioli, and it tastes amazing. Pair the drift spiced chips with the sauce and you’re gonna have a great time. What kind of bugged me about it though was that it cost $2.75 and I’m not sure why… Even on the Drift Food Truck menu on the website, it lists the chips as $2.00, but I don’t remember if that comes with the Aji sauce or not. Even if it doesn’t, the sauce is only $0.50 on the Drift menu, so I’m not sure why it’s $2.75 here, which seems a bit high for a bag of chips when you think about it.
While eating the chips, I found myself wishing that they had the fries that the Drift Food Truck offers. I felt like a starchy, filling side item like their fresh cut fries would have finished off that last little bit of emptiness in my stomach to just the right amount. I was also suddenly craving that desirable homemade ketchup, but it was nowhere to be offered, and I’m not entirely sure why. The menu itself is very small, consisting of 1 particular sandwich a day, a soup, and a small variety of salads and some snacks. So what’s stopping them from adding their fries as a side option to their menu? I didn’t remember to ask them, but the only reason I can think of is maybe because they didn’t want the restaurant to be a non-mobile carbon copy of the food truck? Maybe? Either way, I just wished they had the fries and ketchup. Even right now, as I write this, I want those fries and ketchup. Damn you, appetite.
I felt kind of disappointed for going over my “lunch budget” of $10, but that’s probably because I’m a cheap money-conscious Chinese person, and in the end, you pay for what you get. And what you get here at the Dovetail Delicatessen is a pure form of flavour and carefully designed taste. The money you spend here is honestly like an admission ticket to a concert of “The Essence of Flavour”, where you feast your tastebuds on deliciousness. Before I came here, I have no idea what the name Dovetail Delicatessen meant or why they chose it, but now I feel like the “Dovetail Delicatessen” is a very suiting name for the restaurant. Now, since I didn’t really know what the word delicatessen meant before this review, I decided to research it. It means delicacies or fine foods, and delicacies can mean… uh… fine foods, but it can also refer to how delicate something is. I’ve probably overused the word delicate as a descriptor word by now, but that’s exactly what the Dovetail Delicatessen is. The place is warm and relaxing with no hint of pressure or anxiety, the staff are friendly and welcoming and I don’t feel rushed to order or eat. The food is prepared beautifully and in a… well, delicate fashion. The flavours are subtle, but far from lacking. The best way to describe the flavours is honestly, by calling it delicate. The flavour is delicate. I’m hating myself right now for using that descriptor so much, but that’s just simply what it is. When you try it, you’ll understand exactly what I mean.
Dovetail Delicatessen Photo Gallery