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Decent Deli in DC?, or anywhere south of Newark?

  • j
  • John Jul 23, 2000 04:06 AM

Dare we even imagine it?

I went to Krupin's (Wisconsin Ave) the other day for lunch, and
they . . . "were out of tongue". Is Katz's ever "out of" tongue? In fact, as I learned, Krupin's doesn't ever bother with tongue; apparently (shocking!) it's rarely (once every 5 or so months) ordered. Even though it's on Krupin's borscht-belt, Grossinger's-style, ridiculously contrived menu. Hello, and call the FTC: false advertising. Aside from the fact that they don't carry at least a third of what's advertised, the corned beef at Krupin's is fey, limp, and too fatty; the pastrami tastes exactly like the corned beef (but lacking even pepper), and (get this) is imported from Baltimore, an exotic locale to the Krupins, but hardly the Mecca or Medina of deli. Avoid at all costs. But is there any chance we might have some decent deli south of Delancey (or south of Schwartz's smoked in la province)? Help!

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  1. Sorry to hear about the decline of Krupin's. It was my favorite while I lived in the DC area. I always found the food decent and the staff haimesha. The folks behind the counter were always willing to give a taste and it merits praise as a child-friendly spot.

    The alternative, which is tops with most Washingtonians, is the Parkway deli in Silver Spring. Actually, I'd give a very similar review to Parkway so give it a shot. One drawback is the occasional long line though these pale in comparison to Carnegie in NY. Also, check out the bagel store a few doors down (I think its called Manhattan Bagels). Parkway is off of East West Highway (on Grubb, I think), between Wisconsin and Connecticut.

    Another place worth mention is Brookside Deli, also in Silver Spring, on Georgia Avenue just inside the beltway. The food won't disappoint but the reason for going is the collection of memorabilia on the walls. Photos of presidents, old cartoons, and other assorted schtick require a walk around while waiting for your order. Don't miss the racy wall in the back with Vargas types of drawings that these days aren't likely to offend even the most prudish.

    Now if anyone has any recommendations for me now that I live between Milwaukee and Chicago, I'm all ears (I know that belongs on another board but I don't have to tell you how quiet the Midwest discussion is.)

    5 Replies
    1. re: Ted

      Between Mil. and Chicago? I can't help but give a plug for Al's Deli on Noise St. in Evanston, IL (just west of the L). It's a lot closer to Chicago than Miluakee, but they make a great sandwhich. It's a shockingly labor intensive process by men who have worked there for many years. No NY Deli attitude, but their roast beef on Keiser Roll sandwhich helped make me the man I am today. Good pickles. Nice selection of soft drinks.

      1. re: Peter

        Thanks for the tip about Al's Deli in Evanston, Ill. I'll post your tip on the Midwest board and be sure to check it out when I'm in the area. I've also heard promising things about a place called Jake's Deli in Milwaukee but I haven't been there yet.

        1. re: Peter

          vvvv

        2. re: Ted
          e
          Ethan Miller

          Two corrections on your information on delis in the Washington area.

          First, Parkway Deli (which is excellent) is indeed located on Grubb Road, just off East-West Highway (MD 410). However, it is not between Wisconsin and Connecticut, but rather between Connecticut and Georgia Avenues.

          Second, the deli just inside the Beltway on Georgia Avenue is Woodside Deli (not Brookside). It's less than 2 miles from Parkway Deli if you know the back roads.

          I recently moved to Santa Cruz from the Silver Spring neighborhood of Woodside Forest, a few blocks from the Woodside Deli. We usually drove to Parkway, though....

          1. re: Ethan Miller

            Wow. Were there two mistakes in my deli message? I stand corrected. I, too, no longer live in the area but recall both places fondly. Parkwaymay have had better food but the walls (and breakfasts) made Woodside worth a visit.

            How is the deli in Santa Cruz?

        3. Try Weissblatt's in Cabin John MD. It will fill the bill. :>)

          1. Although there was a bit of rolling of the eyes about Baltimore in the e-mail that kicked this discussion off, Balto is not an illogical place to get deli food from. It has the second highest population of Jews in the entire United States. Consequently there are delis in Baltimore which are fairly authentic if not exactly East-side NYC. In particular there are a few downtown in Lombard street (Altmann's is one) which survive from the days in which the area was a Jewish neighborhood. Many Jews who left Baltimore to move to the suburbs went to Reisterstown where there are several delis of particularly high quality. I can't remember their names, but several are neighborhood institutions and I'm sure it can't be that hard to find them out. I have had wonderful chopped liver and I'm sure that tongue is available. Maybe our Balto contributors can help?

            Closer to my place in D.C., Misha's (Motto: "You must remember this, a knish is just a knish") is a Russian Jewish Deli across from Eastern Market. Misha emigrated to the U.S. from Russia in the 70's. He was open on the morning of the 4th of July and we had quite a conversation about what it means for him to be here. I buy good hungarian salami from them and they usually have specials for the Jewish holidays. I don't know about tongue/chopped liver though I don't recall seeing it. I think he's as much focussed on Russian food as he is on Jewish food. Anyway, good luck in the search.

            1. Many thanks to all for the responses (I'm saving the Milwaukee/Chicagoland listings for my next biz trip). I've been to Parkway; it's Krupin's redux, but with many more strollers and rug rats, which (to childless me, at least) is rather refreshing: more refreshing than the AKs who populate upper Conn Ave. Barely Yiddish, though; my Irish Catholic ex-girlfriend used to hang out there with her friends. (At least she knows what "Sephardic" means.) Have not been to Cabin John in ages, but will *definitely* check out the deli there.

              Re Baltimore: I assure you it doesn't come close to having the 2d biggest Jewish population in the US, or even North America: at least, not if you don't count Los Angeles (#2), Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami, Toronto, Boston, Montreal, even Seattle (after NYC and New Orleans, capital of Sephardic America). Sorry, bub. My dad davened at the Lloyd St Shul and went to Balto City College, and -- aside from Ner Tamid -- there's little Yiddishkeit left.

              As for deli, I'm resorting to Katz's on the 'net. And Carnegie, so long as I'm not in a group of 30 (when the wait is, oh, a day or so).

              1 Reply
              1. re: John

                Alas, I have repeated a bit of dogma which I picked up in law school when I was in Baltimore and which turns out to be incorrect. Indeed you are right, it is clear to me from the general information listed below (I couldn't find specific Jewish demographics for cities), that maybe 8 - 10 cities do in fact have a larger population (although per capita is unanswered). I wasn't able to find a website that specifically listed the Jewish populations of North American Cities (with the exception of a revolting hate site which I doubt the reliability).

                In any case there are enough Jews in Balto and surrounding areas, notably Reisterstown, to have delis and it's possible (even though it's not New York) that maybe one of them is ok. In fact, I've eaten chopped liver in Reisterstown and quite enjoyed it. But you know, I'm not Jewish and I'm anything but a New Yorker and my idea of a great deli is Zingermans in Ann Arbor, so what do I know? Perhaps someone who has a car and is closer to Balto will get interested in checking them out. In any case, I'm sure Katz mail order is fine. Cheers, C.H.

                PRESENT DEMOGRAPHICS

                The Jewish-American population in 1993 was estimated to be 5,840,000 people. (20:206) This is the largest Jewish population in the world. This number reflects those who were born Jewish and follow Judaism, Jews by choice, and those Jews who hold no current religious disposition. If one includes those born or raised as Jews but converted to another faith, those children under eighteen years of age who have Jewish parents who were not raised as Jews and identified with another faith, then the number would
                exceed 8 million (20:470)

                There are about 20 states that have a Jewish population of over one percent, five with a Jewish population of four percent or more: New York, 9.1 percent; New Jersey, 5.6 percent; Florida, 4.6 percent; Massachusetts, 4.5 percent; and Maryland (and the District of Columbia), 4.3 percent. (Table 1) The state of New York, with a general population of 18,119,000, has 1,640,000 Jewish-Americans residents.

              2. I've always been pleased with Loeb's Deli in downtown D.C. They give you plumped up sandwiches, good matzoball soup, and just enough attitude to let you know you're in a real deli. My favorite is the pastrami and swiss on rye with russian dressing and cole slaw.