Tat's Delicatessen

The death of Roxy's left downtown down one well-liked deli, so the checkerboard floor and feet-stamping lunch line at Tat's in Pi Square are a welcome sight. But as the meatball sub ($6.50 for an 8-inch, $10 for a foot-long), the salami-powered grinder ($7.50/$12), and a passel of cheese-steak options suggest, this is actually a deli in the Philly Italian style, not the New York Jewish tradition. In the restaurant's unisex bathroom, there's a luscious picture of a steak sandwich decorated with oozy cheese and round pickled peppers; the nonphotographic chow, however, is wildly mixed. The cheese steak with provolone ($6.75/$10.75) was nothing more than a mass of finely chopped, unseasoned beef exploding from its bun, with precious little cheese and no onions or peppers to break up the gray-brown monotony. (To do Tat's justice, others who've ordered cheese steak there have gotten cheesier, more oniony, less fragmented and dried-out versions.) The roast veggie sub ($6/$9), made with eggplant, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and plenty of garlic, rose above the level of Quiznos and Subway, but not as much as one might like. Fortunately, both the hot turkey ($7.25/$12) and Cajun turkey ($7.50/$12.25) fared better, and Tat's coleslaw and potato salad ($1 small, $2 large) were hits as well. But the deli's crowning achievement is the macaroni salad ($1/$2), with its ideal mayonnaise-to-pasta ratio, perfect sweetness, and classic diced-vegetable confetti. Forget church picnics: This is the side dish of heaven above. 115 Occidental Ave. S., 206-264-8287. PIONEER SQUARE

 
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