307-311 Dolphin St. (entrance off Dolphin or Eutaw streets.) Hours: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays to Fridays; closed weekends. Call 383-7705.
The Dolphin Deli is one of those unknown little lunch spots. It's invisible from the main streets, tucked in the alley behind the Governor's Club. Lunch trade is brisk, drawing many state office employees. Not a place to attract cross-town trade but good to know about if business takes you to the parking nightmare of the state office complexes and light-rail construction nearby.
The deli dishes up lunch-counter standards -- cold and hot subs and burgers of various sizes. But the salad sandwiches seem to be the standout here. The chicken salad ($2.45, with pita bread 25 cents extra) is made with large chicken chunks bound together with a mayonnaise dressing -- a nice change of pace from the tarragon, cumin and rosemary experiments in the trendier eateries. There's an Oriental hot table with daily specials. The chicken with cashews and rice ($3.50) was a substantial helping with a most generous sprinkling of nuts. A cut-up melon cup ($2) is a fresh finish to the lunch heavies.
Don't look for designer drinks and desserts here; the Dolphin keeps its menu board straightforward and simple.