deLux

Val and I just returned from dining at deLux, located on the corner of Main and Addison. This restaurant replaced Southern Culture which, unfortunately, closed permanently after a fire several years ago.

Thankfully, deLux is a fantastic replacement. The moment we walked in the door we were struck by the slick contemporary decor. The stair case leading to our table on the second floor had glass side panels, dark wood floors on floating steps framed by black-painted steel. Upstairs was a second bar and lounge area with cement tiles fashioned (very well) to look like thin grey bricks. The seating was a mixture of leather-clad dining chairs and high-backed comfortable arm chairs. Valerie made the astute observation that these arm chairs should appeal to folks of our generation who are more used to eating on their sofas in front of the television.

Service was prompt and appropriately spaced throughout the meal, and our waitress provided just the right level of useful information about the menu and specials - especially that the soft shell crab dinner would be served over rice instead of fried plantains (deal breaker!). Valerie ate a crab cake sandwich cleverly seated on an English muffin - not too much bread, and sturdy enough to hold up through every bite. My entree was the lobster macaroni and cheese - elbow macaroni in a Vermont white cheddar sauce topped with a generous portion of freshly cooked bacon and lobster meat on top. And the lobster! It wasn't simply the typical shredded meat. There were chunks of leg and claw (my favorite parts) as well as tail meat. We finished the meal by sharing an deLux's unique dessert: pancake fritters. This consisted of lightly sweet pancake batter dropped into hot oil, with the result (resembling darker hush puppies on the outside) plated with ice cream and a citrus sauce. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS.

The bartender (at least upstairs) was aces, too. I had the deLux martini, consisting of an expert mix of Ketel One Citron, Grand Marnier, sour mix, and pomegranate juice. Val had the Strawberry Street - Stoli Strawberry, Cointreau, and a splash of Sprite. With dinner, Val put down another cocktail - the raspberry mojito - which tasted JUST LIKE a red Swedish Fish. No joke. It was quite tasty.

deLux is a classy restaurant and lounge with a menu that's both extensive and coherent. It may be easy for a first timer to feel overwhelmed at the selection, but a little time to peruse is sure to provide any diner with something to his or her taste. I was also impressed by the fairly wide price range. You could eat a standard Fan restaurant burger for $8, or splurge on crab-stuffed filet mignon for $27.

I certainly plan on returning to explore the menu further, hopefully with friends in tow.