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A feline bordello? A cat lady's den? Nope, just the upstairs at Old Moon Deli & Pie.

Image: Alice Levitt

Can a restaurant succeed on the back of a single sweet? On a national level, A&W has its root beer float. Cinnabon has, well, you know. But Old Moon Deli & Pie in Galveston serves up something a tad more esoteric, but no less bewitching. Though the daily pies cycle through options including egg custard, tiramisu cheesecake and blueberry, the signature isn't so simple.

That item is Old Moon's dark chocolate raspberry pie. With a chocolate crust that blends seamlessly with chocolate cream that's bitter and sharp in all the right ways, but also rich, comforting and creamy, it's easy to get mired in the lower reaches of the pie. But atop the jiggly-but-firm layer of chocolate sit fresh raspberries, buried in a rosy layer of raspberry cream decorated with thin chocolate squiggles. My dislike for pies as a genre is well-documented, but I ate my slice yesterday until my stomach felt ready to rupture. And I probably would have had another slice if I'd had the time. So I am contemplating a return visit to Galveston ASAP.

But while the dark chocolate raspberry pie is indeed remarkable, it's not all that recommends Old Moon. Specialty sandwiches, all served pressed, are classics with a twist. My turkey club came on a wheat bun with jack cheese and fig jam along with typical turkey, bacon and spring mix. The Monte Cristo, made with Gouda, is drizzled in Galveston-harvested honey.

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Dark chocolate raspberry pie, $4.25.

Image: Alice Levitt

But perhaps even more than the pies, the drawing room upstairs is what could earn the new spot a following. Burgundy and gold are the colors and both walls and couches. With portraits cluttered together on the walls like the home of a titled family that's collected too many descendants, the room could be something out of Tolstoy. There are the toothless old women alongside young boys in their Sunday best. But most of the color belongs to portraits of anthropomorphic cats in historic military garb or high-necked blouses. Downstairs, there are even ferrets posed in the same style. 

The areas of Galveston's Strand that escape tourist hell all have a self-consciously quirky, old-timey feel, mostly galleries and antique shops. But nobody does it better than Old Moon. Especially not while serving one of the best pies around.

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Old Moon Deli & Pie

$ Deli, Dessert 408 23rd St.

Though it's fun for a stroll, Galveston's Strand isn't exactly a culinary stronghold. Rejoice, then, in the comforting sandwiches here and long list of pies ...