An old favorite is back. And it's pretty good, too.
Unless you've been trapped back in the 1930s when Blossom Deli enjoyed its first heyday, you know by now that a group of local investors recently rescued a Charleston institution from extinction when they purchased the longtime hot spot that Soho's chef/owner Bill Sohovich also ran for 16 years before closing this past fall.
Once the news broke, people cheered, a new menu was debated and reunion plans were made. But could these new folks really bring back Blossom's magic?
Well, it will never be the same place, but I can accept that. I enjoyed many a good lunch there, but my fondest memories were the exquisite dinners during Bill's reign that I consider some of my best ever.
But who's to say the new crew can't create a few new memories?
They're already off to a good start. The place re-opened to a groundswell of support - it has more than 1,500 Facebook friends and counting - and early reviews are mostly positive. Including this one. I've already dropped by a few times for lunch (had to try several things before passing judgment, of course) and have been pleased more often than not.
It's good, just not great - at least not yet.
First the good stuff. The new guys have retained the restaurant's classic decor, and the menu offers a nice mix of original Blossom favorites (hello, patty melt!), Sohovich signature dishes (toasted deli sandwiches, fresh salads, hot soups) and even a few new items.
I struggled mightily over what to order on my first visit before nostalgia got the best of me. But my memories go back only to the Sohovich years, when my lunch of choice was a piping-hot, piled-high Dinsmore, Reuben or some similarly awesome sandwich.
I wanted to savor that same taste, so the Rachael was my best shot. (I've since heard they'll make you a Reuben, even though it's not on the menu.) It didn't quite live up to its predecessors, lacking that extra little tart something-something (not enough dressing, slaw instead of kraut) to make it stand out.
On follow-up visits I tried the patty melt featuring two grilled Buzz Buttered Steaks with mushrooms, Dijon mustard and Swiss on a fluffy Brioche bun. Pretty tasty. I also sampled a nice chicken and artichoke salad (except for the dry chicken) with roasted red peppers, walnuts, tomatoes and red onions with a creamy white balsamic dressing over mixed field greens. It came with a moist chocolate muffin, but I sure miss those orange ones from before.
You can still build your own deli sandwich from dozens of meats, cheeses, breads and fixings', or try a few enticing new items. There are a handful of burgers (the Chef features bacon, brie and apple slice with herb aioli spread) and wordly paninis (Italian, Greek and Cuban).