As I opened the menu at Deli-News, the self-proclaimed “New York-style restaurant,” I casually asked my Brooklyn-born-and-raised Jewish friend what qualifies a delicatessen as New York style. Two hours later, I stumbled out of what could have been a long, neurotic Woody Allen movie. “It’s a Russian-Jewish thing,” he snapped. “You see this bagel. You see how this bagel shines. Now that’s a bagel.” I ate the bagel. “Now, you see this pastrami,” he snipped. “This is real pastrami. It’s got the right amount of fat and it’s steamed. It’s not too thick. It’s not too thin.” I agreed and ate the pastrami. He continued the lessons over and over as he picked up a kugel, a latke, a knish, and a fork of gefilte fish and pointed out the qualities of each. “This potato salad? It’s the same I bought every Sunday on Avenue M,” he said. “It’s more sweet than mustardy.” My bowl of chicken soup filled with noodles, a matzo ball, and kreplach arrived. “That’s just like my mom’s,” he said. “You got the right amount of each item in the broth.” Suddenly my inner sarcastic shiksa surfaced. “So, you guys in New York? You like your soup cold?” I asked as I pushed the bowl of tepid liquid toward him. He motioned for the waiter. “This soup is cold,” he said. “Fix it.” He brushed his palms together and said, “Done and done,” with all the confidence of a New Yorker. Take it from me: Deli-News not only serves satisfying Russian-Jewish food, it is an authentic New York deli. Whatever that means.
For more information about Deli-News, visit our restaurant guide.