An Oasis in this Deli-Desert

Wright’s Gourmet House
1200 S. Dale Mabry
Tampa, FL 33629

After several fruitless years of searching in vain for a good deli in Tampa, a beacon of delicious light was shined upon me today after going out for a bite on my coworker Rob’s whim; Wright’s Gourmet House.  Eating at Wright’s left me feeling all Biblical and shit, wanting to quote scripture (of course I needed to look it up using Google with the keyword ‘good’) to describe my state of being, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”

My my my, doesn’t that look mouth wateringly good?  On the left is Wright’s ‘New Yorker’, a plus-sized samich served with Corned Beef, Pastrami, Genoa salami, Provolone, and red onions on Rye with mustard. Each bite was like a little taste of heaven in this deli scarce land, as the explosion of perfectly brined and cooked meats married perfectly with spot-on Rye and Provolone. Every bite brought all of us a little closer to Nirvana, that or the sun was starting to addle my brain.  On the right is Wright’s ‘California Reuben’ served with Corned Beef (instead of Turkey), cole slaw, Jarlsberg cheese, 1000 Island dressing on Rye. Dan went ‘halvsies’ with me so that we could bask in multiple deliciousnesses.

Don’t mistake me for a heat-stroked fan-boy, the Star Delicatessen in Southfield, MI forever holds my heart with the best corned beef I have ever eaten. Despite Wright’s corned beef not quite attaining the Star Deli’s stature in my taste buds they did bring me one step closer to home with their Zingerman’s-esque sandwiches.

Rob ordered their Cuban, which is a local-award winner, with a ‘shot’ of Texas Caviar (a salad primarily composed of Black Eyed Peas) and an Iced Tea.  He spoke highly of each item he ate.

Despite my constant gushing in this review, I do have one complaint: the Dill Potato Salad. I think this was due to me ordering it despite not knowing the constituents of the ‘salad.’ In my esteemed opinion fresh dill, potatoes, sour cream and mayonnaise do not a good potato salad make.  I tried several bites to see if I could overcome my palate and find the goodness in this dish.  Each bite would start off tasting alright, and remind me of a mediocre potato salad. However, as each bite worked its way through my taste buds I would be left with a flavor that was reminiscent of a Dentist’s office, or as Dan put it, “It tasted like how Band-aids smell.” (*Editor’s Note: I really felt that it tasted like garbage. Hands down the worst potato salad I’ve ever had. -Native)

(the culprit)

All bitching aside, they had delectable cookies and a great selection of soda pop you won’t find many other places (I need to make a bitching caveat, they didn’t have any Dr. Brown Black Cherry Soda, arguably one of the best sodas known to man and yet they had Dr. Brown Cream Soda. What? Who does that?).

Normally I start off with pictures of the restaurant before the food.  I do this because you experience the restaurant well before you see and eat your food.  In this case, the food called out to be shown first. The food merited a great review and earned Rating: ★★★★☆ . Had I ordered a traditional potato salad or probably any other salad that rating would likely be higher.  I’m definitely going back for another visit.

-Matt in Tampa

Author: Matt

I now live in Clearwater, FL and from here the food shall be reviewed.

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