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Yonah Schimmel is a disgrace

  • f

Okay, okay -- there are enough knish postings, especially on tired old Yonah Schimmel. There's no need for another.

But I need to vent.

I knew this place was mediocre, but I was in the neighborhood and it was lunchtime. It had been years since I was there, so I foolishly decided to give it another try. What a joke. Soggy potato balls with, in my case, canned friggin mushrooms. No flavor, no crispness whatsoever, just bland mush. Dousing it with salt and/or mustard would've helped, but not much.

If you defend this place, you must not know knishes. It could only mean you think canned mushrooms are okay, soggy outsides are okay, "spinach" knishes with something like 3% or less spinach are okay, etc. Go ahead, make the case for Schimmel.

How does this place survive? It's not like it's in the middle of a tourist area. Are there really enough nostalgic people to support this pathetic effort?

Let the nostalgia die. If you're new to town or otherwise find yourself on 2nd Ave and Houston, wondering if you should have a knish, don't.

I gather from the message boards there are a couple places left that do passable-to-very-good knishes, deep in the heart of Queens. Hmmm. I'm not sure if I'm up for the pilgrimage. Anyone out there with information to prove that Manhattan and northern Brooklyn (where I live) are not a totally lost cause?

Yonah Schimmel's Knishes
137 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

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  1. I no knish maven, but do mushrooms even belong in a knish?

    8 Replies
    1. re: Nor'easter

      Yes, especially fresh portobellas. I once had the most delicious mushroom (main ingredient) + potato knish at a restaurant in Calgary. Went well with the venison steak.

      1. re: Nor'easter

        >>>do mushrooms even belong on a knish?

        -I don't know if they belong on a knish. I leave that to the food historians. I'm no purist, and I don't mind classics sitting side-by-side with updated, revisionist versions (up to a point -- no foie gras-and-fresh-thyme knishes, and no cherry jubilee bagels, please).

        So put mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, kasha or cheese in your knishes. Just do it right!

        1. re: Fred

          well as far as mushrooms in poland or russia if they made meat kinishes which means liver they might of added dried wild mushrooms if they haed it..a kinish is peasent food and a reginal food item, so it would depend whos making them and were..but since potatoes were so cheap they were the most often used filling and kasha is a grain popular in russia and poland but it is usually mixed with potatoe to hold the filling together...prorably used if there was leftover cook kasha and boiled potatoes...,what to do with leftover bits best to wrap them in a flour casing a dumpling or boil fry bake it..every ethnic style of food has a version of the same things and there always 99 percent of the time peasent food..where food was presious and to waste was a sin and unthinkable...some of the best dishes in all cusines came along for this very reason, utilize reginal and not to waste food

        2. re: Nor'easter

          ive never heard of it before. if anything it has to add water to the mix. YUK

          1. re: beermug

            the best knishes i ever ate where they were really perfect and made from scratch. they peeled the potatoes and they chopped them by hand after cooking etc. came from Gallishoffs on riving ton just east of allen street. It was the finest dairy restaurant on the lower east side. Yonah
            schimmels is not good at all.

            1. re: goosey1

              well, i am bias, i will say the best knishes i ever ate were the ones that my family made down on the boardwalk in Rockaway back in the 1960's . at 35th street. In fact there were two places that had knishes, Sams Bar & Grill [which sold Hebrew National hotdogs, and handmade knishes, Potato and Kasha and cherry and blueberry cheese. And the knishes were nice size, baked [not deep fried in grease], for only 25 cents!!! Was great to go to the beach have a hotdog, knish and a beer whatelse do you need? :)
              The other place was Jerrys Knishes which was just down a ways on the boardwalk too!! also good quality.
              I long to taste those again but sadly thats just a memory now, like those places that existed on the boardwalk long ago.

              1. re: beermug

                Absolutely right. I spend my entire childhood in Rockaway for the summers and the best food, including Jerry's knishes, was on the Boardwalk between 30th and 35th Street. Their cherry cheeses knishes were to die for. Not to get away from the topic of knishes, but how about the Tuckee Cups? Wish I could go back to those wonderful days. That was when food was pure and so were we!!!

                1. re: RosanneEG

                  Wow, Jerry's knishes. I used to eat them too. Wasn't fascination , Jerry's also?
                  I know this is manhattan board. But i haven't had any good knishes in Manhattan. Knish Nosh in queens is very good.

        3. I totally agree! I just don't understand how anyone with taste buds can enjoy Yonah Schimmel--they have no taste. this is not about authenticity, it is about a basic lack of yummyness. but many chowhounds seem to disagree, sigh... Otherwise I think so highly of you all!

          4 Replies
          1. re: D-NY

            I regret not having gone into Schimmels years ago when I first stumbled upon it, when it might have still been good. Will I die never having eaten a good kinish???

            1. re: xavier

              not to be banished to the outer boroughs board, but for what a knish should be, head to Knish Nosh on Queens Blvd - you won't be disappointed.

              1. re: xavier

                I went to Yonah Schimmels in the late Sixties to mid-Seventies, and even THEN it wasn't very good (but it was a place to sit with something warm on a cold day). Anything from a food cart was better. Now that they microwave, it's even worse. Head to Queens and stock up. Trust me- I live for knishes.

                1. re: addictedtolunch

                  This is good advice -- look in the outer boroughs. I was pretty disappointed with the knishes I tried in Manhattan -- at Yonah Schimmels and elsewhere.

            2. Maybe the problem is with knishes. I understand these remarks, but the Yonah Schimmel knishes are the only ones I have ever tried which were any good at all. I didn't get to Mrs Stahl's until it turned into a pizza joint.

              Can anyone name a knish in Manhattan which is better than these?

              5 Replies
              1. re: Wilfrid

                The knish they serve at Katz's is better than Yonah's.

                  1. re: Nina W.

                    I don't either is as good as the one at 2nd Ave Deli.

                  2. re: Wilfrid

                    Try Carnegie deli. Katz is good for meat sandwiches, but i dont buy anything else there.

                    Carnegie Deli
                    854 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                    1. re: beermug

                      Katz's is also good for a hotdog and matzah ball soup. (You have to like the hocking big matzah balls. If you are a small matzah ball fan, skip it.)

                  3. Yonah sucks. And a knish can be made out of most anything, including liver.... my paternal grandmother made lima bean, cabbage or sweet rice knishes. Unfortunately Yonah's are just tasteless....

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: howboy

                      I agree, is he cooking for a nursing home or what?????????

                    2. Zabar's has knishes that are heads above Yonnah's.. some of the more unorthodox ones (particularly the brocolli and cheese) are extremely good, but even the potato is much better..

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: jesse

                        I also love the Broc + Cheese from Zabar's.
                        A cheap tasty easy dinner.

                        1. re: ronasanchez

                          Oh, good. I was going to say that I loved the knishes from Zabar's, but I don't know from good knishes and totally didn't want to out myself as a novice knish-eater. Yay Zabar's!

                      2. In the old Whole Foods on Prince st. in Soho 10 years ago they sold Love Knishes. At least thats what I think they were called. I can't find them anywhere. I especially liked the Kasha ones. Has anyone seen them anywhere?

                        1. If you want a great knish, head to Murray's Sturgeon Shop, 90th and Broadway (or is it 88th?). They're really delicious--Zabar's knishes are good, but these take the cake in Manhattan, as far as I can tell. The skin is sufficiently distinguished from the contents by crispiness, and the filling is richly done. They'll heat one up for you if you want one there.

                          Yonah Schimmel's are disgusting. They taste like they were sitting around in a pile of wet paper towels before being warmed up in a microwave. Katz's does a good, if somewhat unorthdox (compared with what I'm used to), take on the knish.

                          The only good meat knish I ever had was at a friend's house in Boston on Erev Rosh Hashanah a few years back; his grandmother picked it up somewhere in the outskirts of Boston. But that's a post for another board.

                          1. The best knishes are to be had at Knish Nosh in Rego Park. One knish can feed a battalion.

                            I'm also partial to the fried Gabillah knishes you can find in any supermarket.

                            20 Replies
                            1. re: Josh
                              David Feldman

                              "The best knishes are to be had at Knish Nosh in Rego Park. One knish can feed a battalion."

                              That's exactly why I don't like them that much. Too much filling to pastry ratio for my taste.

                              1. re: David Feldman

                                Back in my younger days (in my early 20s), I once ate a dozen in one sitting. Now, 20 years later, I can't do that any more...

                                Just think, if they paid "competitive eaters" back then the way they get paid now...

                                1. re: newsjoke
                                  David Feldman

                                  I got to know a few of the top American competitive eaters a couple of years ago and I'll put it this way: If you are interested in $$$, don't quit your day job!

                                  1. re: newsjoke

                                    I could've been a contender. Guess I was just ahead of my time.

                                    Last knishes at Katz were pretty poor. Had some really good potato and kasha (not in the same knish) at Carnegie. Kasha is huge and cost $5.

                                    1. re: phantomdoc

                                      Carnegie is a good place but pricey. Im not a fan of their meat knish though.

                                  2. re: David Feldman

                                    bigger doesnt necessarily mean better. Bens deli does that , big but tasteless.

                                    the days of the knish are numbered as far as quality. All there is now is schimmel, gabila's, and Joshua pudding, sold to the mass market supermarket stuff {i.e dreck} but for people who never ate good knishes they wont know.

                                    Unless it has a sign with some other makers on it, its a 50-50 gamble. My relative had a place in Rockaway on the boardwalk and they hand made the knishes there, and he had a competitor named Jerrys Knishes, which was about the same in quality, Made from fresh potatoes and onions,not instant junk.I know cause i saw that loud noisy drum that peeled the potatoes. Those days are long gone , as is the 2nd Ave Deli in NewYork as well. I miss their "Chulent"!!!

                                    Oy all the relatives in my family that made these tasty stick to your ribs ethnic foods are in the next world , and took their recipes with them.

                                    Ben's Kosher Delicatessen
                                    209 W 38th St, New York, NY 10018

                                    1. re: beermug

                                      Reading your post, I was going to encourage you to dig out the recipes and getting a booth at Smorgasburg or something, but then I got to the last paragraph.

                                      If ever there was a more obvious item to see a revival through food carts, or trucks, it's the knish.

                                      1. re: beermug

                                        2nd Av. Deli isn't dead, though.

                                        Second Avenue Deli
                                        162 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016

                                        1. re: Pan

                                          Yes, not only is 2nd Ave. Deli alive and well, but there are now two locations.

                                          Imo, their round potato knish is excellent.

                                          2nd Ave. Deli photos (including the knish): http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...


                                          Second Avenue Deli
                                          1442 1st Ave, New York, NY 10021

                                          1. re: gutsofsteel

                                            The current second ave deli is not anywhere near the quality it once was, Abe took it with him to heaven.

                                            Second Avenue Deli
                                            162 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016

                                          2. re: beermug

                                            I used to go to Jerry's in Rockaway. There was Mom's knishes in Brooklyn also. Yonah Schimmel always was bad to me. Mrs Stahls for different style like cherry cheese knishes was good in Brighton. Gabilla's is what most deli buy,( the square knishes) If fresh they are good, but most of these sit on the grill for days sometimes and are horrible. Katz's uses Gabilla's for the square ones. Katz's round potato knishes are very good ( not sure who makes them), but you would never know they even have them, the counter guys hate to heat them up.

                                            1. re: foodwhisperer

                                              Gabilla's? You're being charitable in calling them good.

                                              1. re: sugartoof

                                                i agree, but some people love those deep fried things, especially the cardiologists!

                                              2. re: foodwhisperer

                                                im not sure as i havent been to Katz's in quite a while. It sure isnt like it used to be in the days when Ratners had their restaurant !!

                                                1. re: sugartoof

                                                  Yes, they are made by the Oceanside Knish Factory, whch has since moved to Inwood, long island and does not have their own retail store anymore. Steinbergs is their retail distributor.


                                                  1. re: beermug

                                                    Those knishes look beautiful. Sounds like a really good tip.

                                          3. I lost my appetite when the waitress at YS put my knish in the microwave. Never put a knish in a microwave unless you want a soggy mess.
                                            I also object to food that has been standing out that long. It is unhealthy.
                                            I like Knish Knosh, but they aren't quite as good as they used to be I've lived in that neighborhood for a long time and remember them being more flavorful.

                                            1. Years ago Yonah's was great. Personally, I always like going there for a blintz and a cup of coffee.

                                              I grew up on Stahl's. My dad would leave me in the car under the el when he ran in for a box.

                                              It's a shame that there are no good knishes around.

                                              I get kasha knishes from Mendy's in Grand Central that are not bad.

                                              And I too love Gabilla's with a ton of mustard.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Eric K.

                                                I'd second Mendy's being tolerable--there is a branch right by my office for that occasional knish craving.

                                              2. Once in a while I find a plain potato or kasha knish from YS satisfying. But they're not good enough to muster a defense for.
                                                They're hammentashen, however, are excellent.

                                                1. the owners have run this place to the ground. its a shame- my grandfather patroned the place in the thirties. def a nyc landmarc.

                                                  1. m
                                                    MORE KASHA(IVAN)

                                                    YS has sucked for at least 20 years. Every now + then I'd stop by to try one, but they always sucked. This has been since at least 1982. Now, Mrs Stahls was a great knish. When they had an outpost on 72 St in the early 90's I was a happy boy. Zabar's knishs are ok by default. Their Kasha knish uses the fine grain Kasha which looses 1/2 the value of the kasha. As a Boro-Boy who still works in in the ancient homeland (Queens)I wouldn't go out of my way for Knish Nosh. As Spock once said "oh the horror of it all", please apply this to the state of the Knish world wide.

                                                    1. YS is still ok when they're fresh and hot. Knish knosh is good too. As far as the square hard crusted knishes (Gabila's?) there used to be a deli around the corner from my high school on 1st avenue and 15-16th street, alas neither the deli nor the high school are still there, which would split 'em in half, stuff it with pastrami or corned beef and about a gallon of mustard and make a sandwich with them. MMMMMMMMMM!

                                                      7 Replies
                                                      1. re: guttergourmet

                                                        You can get that type of sandwich at Press 195 in Bayside or Park Slope. They offer one with pastrami though it's been modernized with a roasted pepper dressing.


                                                        I think YS has gone way downhill from what it once was. My dad grew up on the LES and won't even set foot in there now. KK is still good (haven't tried any of their food items since they expanded.) And I've always been a fan of their pigs in blankets that come on that little foil tray.

                                                        1. re: CornflakeGirl

                                                          That sandwich sounds amazing, and I can't wait to try it - thanks for the tip.

                                                        2. re: guttergourmet

                                                          Also around the old Stuyvesant HS, in the late 70s, was a knish cart that sold piping hot fresh knishes. The vendor was always in motion, wheeling around the 'hood, rather than staying in one place, so it was unpredictable where / when you'd find him on school lunch break. On a crisp Fall / Winter day they really hit the spot.

                                                          I recently bought a box of Gabila brand knishes at the Costco in Asbury Park. When fried to a crunch, they are a pretty good vehicle for mustard or salt. Let's face it, knishes' appeal are 50% comfort food nostalgia and 50% crunch, grease & salt.

                                                          I'm old enough to remember Yonah Schimmel before the advent of the microwave and the potato bagels were never much to write home about. It still gets 5 stars for decor / atmosphere (obviously nothing's changed). But for non-purists the kasha and cabbage knishes are toothsome, and the cherry cheese (blueberry etc) knishes (which are more like a strudel) are pretty delish. Unfortunately they're also dangerously hot / unevenly cooked in the microwave... I have a fantasy to buy a $5 yard sale toaster oven and leave it on their doorstep overnight... Even with the microwave and lame management, I'll be happy if Yonah Schimmel makes it to 100 years (2010) and if I visit in 10 years and it's still around, I'll be thrilled.

                                                          1. re: David Newgarden

                                                            i'd have to say that kasha knishes are also for purists, as they have always been around.
                                                            (i went to school across the park from you in the mid to late 70's, at friends, and had many friends @ stuy)

                                                            1. re: thew

                                                              Indeed, kasha knishes were just as common on my long-ago childhood dinner table as potato ones. And YS does a fine kasha version.

                                                            2. re: David Newgarden

                                                              like that photo..that woman is a witch with a B........I WENT BACK AFTER EONS and complained this is not the same and she got on my case I asked did they sell the bussiness she yelled at me...I told her she wasnt around when I always came living near by on first street, the only thing the same is the decor thats it.....too bad they once were great AND CHEAP! you could by a bag of em.....the dough is totally different it was anodd yellow when they used to be golden beige brown

                                                              1. re: David Newgarden

                                                                the guy with the cart near your school was either the famous RUBY or his father no doubt about it goole ruby the kinish man...they named the company or his kids did MOMS kinishes..there available and factory made and miles lower than when Ruby was around , there a take on russian fried periogies sold in the street in russia ans in Brighton beach which is a very russian comunity..though they have more dough than filling as Ruby's did..

                                                            3. Wow! I can't believe how many Chow hounds are dissing on Yonah! Maybe I really DON'T know knishes but I thought they were pretty good. I mean I get the issue about the microwave being lame - which it undoubtedly is - but as far as flavor, the red cabbage knish I thought was delish - definitely the best of the bunch. Well, maybe they were better back in the day, but when I go to the Sunshine Theater I'll always stop in for a red cabbage knish . . . better, healthier and cheaper than popcorn!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: agalligani

                                                                I'm with agalligani on this one -- and I do know from knishes, as they were one of the major food groups of my childhood. The red cabbage is great, as is the kasha (my favorite.) But you'll do well to get whatever has recently emerged from the oven.

                                                              2. Yonah Schimmel's, like Katz's (sorry folks!) has not been good for a long time. At least since the early 90's. They're cool experiences, and a great bit of history I'm glad still exist, but if you want good food, that's not it. Yonah's are selling a mushed ball of instant potato and a bit of dough wrapped around it. Luckily you know that's not how amazing a knish is supposed to taste.

                                                                I count myself lucky enough to catch the last gasp of Stahl's... and now there's Zabar's left. Cintorella markets used to have pretty decent ones too. The best indication you're getting one that's at least partially edible is if they're fairly small, and the crust covers almost the entire filling. It's also a good sign if they make a knish with rice in them. Not sure how old world putting rice in a knish is, but who cares if they taste good.

                                                                Now hold on...there is one thing to go to Yonah's for. Struddle. The cherry cheese stands out for me. It's not as good as Andrea's Hungarian, or the Greek bakery on 44th and 9th's version (hope they're still there) or dozens of other places, but hey it's pretty good...and honestly, I think the people who buy from Yonah's really just want it to be good.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: sugartoof

                                                                  Okay, I completely understand your low opinion of Yonah Schimmels, that's fine. but........

                                                                  You are incorrect about them using instant potatoes for their knishes. Recently, I had to wait for the store to open to make my purchase and there was a truck making a delivery of product and off-loading into the basement.......all fresh potatoes by the sack in 50 pound bags.

                                                                  How would you explain the delivery?

                                                                  1. re: fourunder

                                                                    That they perhaps are cutting the ingredients in their product?

                                                                    Either way, if you take a real potato, and turn it into a product which has the texture of a boxed mix product (which can fool people, btw.) then who cares that you saw a produce delivery? They used to put potato skin in their filling, so I don't doubt there's a real potato in that mix...just like Mcdonald's has some real beef somewhere in their burger.

                                                                  2. re: sugartoof

                                                                    My paternal grandmother made rice knishes!

                                                                  3. if you're in that 'hood and want a knish walk a block further east and go to katz's. get some pastrami while you're there.

                                                                    and as long as you're there stop in at russ and daughters... yummmmm

                                                                    As to those who wished they had gone to shimmels years ago- they sucked then too.

                                                                    Im nearly 5o yrs old.. lived in NYC my whole life... and shimmel's never had a good knish ever.

                                                                    but for some people i guess that is what a knish is supposed to taste like

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                      Are you sure Katz's makes their own Knishes?
                                                                      I'm skeptical of any knish that is square in shape, and resemble the generic ones sold on hot dog carts.

                                                                      1. re: sugartoof

                                                                        I've never had a knish at Katz's, but if theirs are, indeed, the kind that are square and have that hard crust -- Blech!

                                                                        My experience with Yonah's potato knishes, at least in recent years, reminds me of the little girl with the curl -- when the knish is good, it's very, very good, but when it's bad, it's horrid!

                                                                    2. To me Yonah Schimmel's is a part of the Lower East Side's vanishing Jewish history. It serves kosher knishes that are baked not fried. New York Landmarks should consider listing Yonah's as a NYC landmark. I do not want to see it vanish like Ratner's, Grand Street Dairy, and other relics of the real Lower East Side. There are enough mediocre pizza places and nail parlors in Manhattan already.

                                                                      To go inside Yonah Schimmel's is to experience what it must have been like almost 100 years ago when poor immigrants needed a cheap nourishing snack and who wanted a kosher knish. No one else offers such a variety of flavors.

                                                                      Yes they do lots of mail order now but one has the choice of heating the knishes in the oven. You don't have to microwave the flavor out of it. Stop dissing Yonah's - it seems the same people who carry on about the taste of pizza, knishes and hot dogs are the same ones who love greasy mass-produced food from pushcarts.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Beau711

                                                                        no doubt yonah shimmel is historic. but, to my taste - with hopeful trying over the last 40 years, the knishes sucked then and they suck now

                                                                      2. I agree whole-heartedly with Beau. Yonah is amongst the last of a vanishing breed. But I don't patronize them because they're an institution; I do so because their knishes taste exactly like they're suppposed to taste. I'm a native New Yorker, have been eating knishes for most of my 50 years, and have even spent quite a lot of time in the northern Slavic lands, where the knish traces its roots. I mourn the passing of Mrs Stahl's, but for me Yonah's is it.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: sea97horse

                                                                          Stahl's and Yonah's had entirely different tastes though. Different styles of Knish.

                                                                          Didn't you think Mrs. Stahl's was superior, and wouldn't you prefer something closer to it, though?

                                                                          1. re: sugartoof

                                                                            True, yes, and yes. And Mrs. S's were much closer to Ur-knishes back in the old country. I can take a nice long walk or a very short subway ride to Yonah's, though, while Mrs. S's was a l-o-o-o-o-ng subway ride away. And now you all know how lazy I am!

                                                                        2. the sweet potato knish never fails

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: marlie202

                                                                            in Brooklyn on Flatbush Ave. an appetizing store used to sell a cherry cheese knish that was the best--gone are those days/store

                                                                            1. re: marlie202

                                                                              Cherry Cheese is the one thing Yonah Schimmel does that's passable. Sometimes it's even good. They usually sell it in long strips like a strudeel that they cut a chunk off of though. So you might not feel like you're getting a knish. For a while they were making the flavor knish style though.

                                                                          2. I agree that Yonah Schimmel's knishes are too watery and was very disappointed in them. I won't go back. Too bad, I love knishes (and not the greasysquare fried ones - yuk).

                                                                            1. It breaks my heart, but I agree. I remember having good knishes at YS, but that was ages and ages ago, and yes, only when they were fresh. Zabars is better, but it's scary that it's gotten so hard to find a good knish in New York, whether you agree with me about YS or not.
                                                                              There is, however, one thing I'm really proud of. Look how many people care about it enough to post!

                                                                              1. Want good Knishes? Good Luck. Everywhere is a disgrace. There are no more immigrant Jews around who know what they taste like, let alone know how to make them. Yonah Schimmel's is a joke. Maybe the best Kinish in New York is at Zabar's... but don't expect to be overwhelmed.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: ManhattanX

                                                                                  you have to drain the water from the potatoes, if you leave them sit in water they get waterlogged. Im not trying to say its deliberate, like to add weight or stretch the mixture , but it is something they should look into, either that or maybe if they are still making friend onions, remember to drain the oil its fried in!

                                                                                  Liquid doesnt magically develop in knishes, if anything they absorb water, if they are handled properly during the manufacturing process.

                                                                                2. > How does this place survive? It's not like it's in the middle of a tourist area. Are there really enough nostalgic people to support this pathetic effort?

                                                                                  I walked by Yonah Schimmel, not long after reading this post. It seemed pretty busy inside. My guess is that they either own the real estate or have a long time landlord who has failed to inflate the rents to market standards.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Minger

                                                                                    "How does this place survive? It's not like it's in the middle of a tourist area. Are there really enough nostalgic people to support this pathetic effort?"

                                                                                    Yonah's remains part of what I think of as the Houston St. "trinity" -- the others being Katz's and Russ & Daughters -- all patronized regularly by locals. And as you can tell by the posts here, there are many locals who feel it still puts out a decent knish. Also, the LES does draw tourists, and when discussing that neighborhood, Frommer's makes specific mention of Yonah's ( http://www.frommers.com/destinations/... ):

                                                                                    "The Lower East Side boasts the best of both old and new New York: Witness the stretch of Houston between Forsyth and Allen streets, where Yoneh Shimmel's [sic] Knish Shop sits shoulder-to-shoulder with the city's newest art-house cinema -- and both are thriving, thank you very much."

                                                                                    1. re: RGR

                                                                                      i am not a knish expert but i went to YS as a tourist and found that there sweet potato knish was very good. I had no idea that they microwaved anything? I can say that I took a dozen of them home to Florida on the plane and gained 5 pounds as a result :) The thing that I noticed about the plain type was that the onions were crunchy and uncooked which I thought texture-wise they were gross !!! And while submerged in spicy mustard bareable!!!! And here I am in Florida and missing crazy NY and now trying to perfect a sweet potato knish. I was happy to have a crappy YS experience because it still beats what us Floridians have to deal with :)

                                                                                  2. Carnegie Deli's knishes are round and pretty good. I remember when I was a kid, my mom used to sneak the vendor knish in the movies and it was good to me. Being out of NY for so long. I did go to YS twice and had to thow it out, burned and tasted terrible. I eat a knish now at Arties Deli and Carnegie when I am in town. My daughter was only 7 when we left, but her knish craving is huge. She can eat the street vendor one with the dirty water frank. I can't anymore. wow12 knishes. I bow to you news joke. I will try Zabars or Mendys' which I never heard of. what about Barney Greengrass do they sell knishes?

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: lisettte

                                                                                      Skip Mendy's. No better than YS. I feel sorry for children now, who apparently will never experience the taste of a real knish (absent an inconvenient trip to Queens) as street food.

                                                                                    2. My gosh, some of these comments are harsh! It's not like their prices are rip-off-high or the service abhorrent. I find the knishes tasty and I like the borscht, and I like the people who work there. Given the ongoing gentrification of the LES, I think YS is an important reminder of the area's roots. Just my opinion.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: Major Major

                                                                                        I think most all of us would agree with the last sentiment, and want them to survive. If you've had a proper knish though, it's hard not to get passionate as to just how bad theirs really are.

                                                                                      2. I'm with Major Major on this one. There are painfully few Yonah-like places left in the area, or in Manhattan for that matter. The people there are really nice, and I am quite partial to the kasha and red cabbage varieties. You don't go there for a mind-blowing dining experience, but there are lots of us who will miss Yonah's when it's gone.

                                                                                        22 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: sea97horse

                                                                                          i understand the sentiment. if i actually liked the knishes i might even share it

                                                                                          1. re: sea97horse

                                                                                            I would miss the establishment, but not their food. I will say, the last time I went in, they at least had fresh looking food on display for a change, and new items (some of which sound unfortunate, such as a jalapeno knish).

                                                                                            1. re: sea97horse

                                                                                              I guess the divide here (like my differences with those who mightily defend Katz's, notwithstanding its all-but-pastrami-mediocrity) is the feeling of many that nostalgia, by itself, doesn't cut it. Nobody argues that we don't "need" a place like YS to stay around, but they shouldn't trade on their history or on "nostalgia cachet" by pushing out a lousy product. It can't be THAT hard to make a decent knish. I have heard from too many people that they tried the knish there "once" and it was an interesting experience to buy it there and feel the vibe, but they don't think they need to go back. Hey, even tourists deserve a break now and then-they walk into YS expecting old New York-LES culinary authenticity, and they don't get it.

                                                                                              (Besides, I would like to taste another really good knish again before I die).

                                                                                              1. re: addictedtolunch

                                                                                                i think tourists are getting "old New York-LES culinary authenticity" @ YS, as as long as i can remember YS served a sub-par knish.

                                                                                                1. re: thew

                                                                                                  that's exactly right. even when ms. stahl's was around, there were still people who would swear by YS's bland lumpy knishes.

                                                                                                2. re: addictedtolunch

                                                                                                  «(Besides, I would like to taste another really good knish again before I die).» If you think you can make it to Brooklyn before you die, ask on the Outer Borough board. There are still a few good Knishes around. There's even a place that claims to have Mrs. Stahl's recipe.

                                                                                                  1. re: addictedtolunch

                                                                                                    You're wrong about Katz's. The people who love it vehemently disagree with you that there's anything remotely mediocre about their pastrami. You can't eat nostalgia, and I don't defend Lombardi's, which has just as much memorabilia inside.

                                                                                                    1. re: Pan

                                                                                                      Interestingly enough, nobody gets that passionate enough to "vehemently disagree" with anyone talking trash about Lombardi's. The way people defend Katz's, it's obvious it's largely about the nostalgia, and criticism is treated as blasphemy. I think you can eat nostalgia, and that's not an insult....it's just that people are insulted to hear they're nostalgic for a taste that others regard as garbage. YS is serving a slightly improved product lately - the skin actually covers the filling now. I still say they their struedel is better than there knishes.

                                                                                                      I'm excited to hear who is still making Mrs. Stahl's recipe.

                                                                                                      1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                        The need to defend Katz's and YS seems more visceral. Nobody is afraid that Lombardi's isn't thriving, or that if it somehow went away, is irreplaceable. There are other, more iconic pizza places in New York. Whereas YS/Katz's are the last vestige of a part of New York's LES immigrant history (and our own). That being said, you can't "landmark" a restaurant to preserve it and keep it there. Like what happened to Gertel's- people feel if they don't "support" it, it may go away. That's why it's agonizing when an "iconic" place cuts corners (Katz's with their bread and everything BUT the pastrami, YS on not keeping things fresh).

                                                                                                        1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                          i don;t think criticism of katz's is blasphemy. i just happen to not agree about it.
                                                                                                          I am not nostalgic about katz's because it has not be relegated to my past, but is part of my present.

                                                                                                          YS on the other hand, has to my mind, always put out an inferior knish

                                                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                                                            Right. Some people have good reason to be nostalgic about katz's. I don't. I didn;'t grow up in New York. I grew up eating "salt beef" sandiches in London.

                                                                                                            Katz's is just very good at what it does.

                                                                                                            As for knishes, is there really a good knish out there? I am skeptical.

                                                                                                            1. re: Wilfrid

                                                                                                              oh i grew up on katz's. but the feeling i have for the place isn;t nostalgia. is love of good pastrami.

                                                                                                          2. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                            «I'm excited to hear who is still making Mrs. Stahl's recipe.»
                                                                                                            Bagel Supreme (6220 Avenue U, between Mill and E 63rd Aves), Bkln, although, sadly a recent visit by a CHer found that they were no longer making them. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/247574

                                                                                                            1. re: bobjbkln

                                                                                                              Yeah, if I recall, Mrs. Stahl's was focusing mostly on wholesaling before they sold the business. There was a short period where they were still popping up places, and you would get a glimmer of hope but they never tasted right to me. I miss the rice and potato the most.

                                                                                                              1. re: bobjbkln

                                                                                                                the recipe going around for Mrs Stahls is so wrong..I knew the guy that made them..George....the kinishes had only all pourpose potatoes onion veg oil salt pepper water all purpose flour.................no eggs no baking powder no chiken fat its very simple...in the SETTELMAN cook book there dough recipe for kinishes is pretty close....
                                                                                                                I am also a long time pro chef whos very good at replicating recipes by tasting and redoing them at home I used to go there often and the chef told me and I'd see the deliverys for supplies...george told me he got drunk once (HA!) and put in tooooo much pepper in the potato filling but it sold anyway and I got the recipe out of him not mesuments but whats in it and its not hard for me to figure that out so the so called secret recipe for Mrs Stahls is wrong..I think he got it out of the booklyn cook book by lynne um something

                                                                                                              2. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                I'm not nostalgic about Katz's. I live in the East Village, and it's a damn good neighborhood establishment for me. Criticism of their pastrami isn't blasphemy to me, merely impossible for me to understand as a matter of taste. And addictedtolunch, where do you get the idea that Katz's isn't thriving?

                                                                                                                1. re: Pan

                                                                                                                  It certainly is thriving when the tourists are around- and that might just be forever. Less so with "locals" to my eyes. But they have raised the price so much, and cut corners (in my view) in terms of quality (except for the signature pastrami), and I don't think that's a sustainable business model for a place like this in the long term.

                                                                                                                  1. re: addictedtolunch

                                                                                                                    Yeah, prices are up.

                                                                                                                    By the way, no-one notices me defending Yonah Schimmel's. I haven't gone there in quite a long time. I think nostalgia is fine, but only if the food is good.

                                                                                                                  2. re: Pan

                                                                                                                    That place is hardly serving the neighborhood, but I do envy your ability to spend that much on a sandwich and/or call their portions a meal. I am glad people support the place, so I can peak my head in every so often and roll my eyes. I wish Coney Island's Astroland was around too...but not so I can could argue that it was every bit as authentic as it's hey day. These places are shadows of their former selves....where as I'm not sure YS ever was the top dog in the knish world.

                                                                                                                    I'd love to see them improve, and if they did dig out an old recipe that produced an edible knish, I'd go out of my way to eat there weekly. I miss the days when knishes were a cheap meal. Zabars can't be the best NY has to offer!

                                                                                                                    1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                      I find Katz's sandwiches humongous, but I go there about 4-5 times a year, because that food is so rich.

                                                                                                                      I like Yonah Schimmel back in the early 70s, but who knows whether they were better then; I would have been about 7.

                                                                                                              3. re: addictedtolunch

                                                                                                                Me too. I remember this guy that worked for Jerrys Knishes in Rockaway many years ago.
                                                                                                                He decided to open a place to make knishes with same recipe in Baldwin ,NY on long island, unfortunately it wasnt a place to sit down and eat, just a place to make them, you could buy them retail and he was quite ingenious in his making of various types of knishes.
                                                                                                                The problem is, the generations of people who used to eat good knishes are either gone or in nursing homes at this point. Their children for the most part were taught that these type of foods added weight and increased your waistline. Combined with the mystique that being a sexy looking woman requires you to look like a concentration camp victim [as many fashion models look like walking sticks], woman hesitated to buy this kind of food. Also its a limited market, the number of kosher delis and restaurants have dwindled over the years too. So sadly after a very good effort, he was forced to close due to lack of enough business. Too bad those were freakin great knishes !!!

                                                                                                            2. Knish....shmish. Give up on that. I'm sure you're all correct. BUT. It's the CHEESE BAGELS that they bake in those shimmel-dikeh (moldy...in Yiddish) ovens that I smuggle cross country given every opportunity. A thin bagel skin, with a pencil diameter core of blintz cheese twisted into a pretzel shape. They keep, they freeze, they thaw, they re-bake, they do everything. But I swear they only do it at Yonah Shimmels. I buy nothing else and I've been going there for 50 years. CHEESE BAGELS. There's one in my toaster oven right now. I'm sad for you.

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Jetneo

                                                                                                                I am thrilled to stumble upon this post, written by my high school sweetheart who for some reason lives on the other side of the continent.

                                                                                                                I lived a block from Yonah Schimmel's in the early '70s. Had I known these cheese bagels existed, I'd have tried them. Now I know, and try them I will.

                                                                                                                Thanks, sweetheart!

                                                                                                                1. re: BrooksNYC

                                                                                                                  We have to stop meeting like this!
                                                                                                                  Here's my copy of the menu from the archive. We can eat like kings for 1980 pennies!

                                                                                                              2. Gourmet on J in Brooklyn. Go get a Knish there as an appetizer while you wait for your DiFara's pizza.

                                                                                                                1. The Meat Knish at Carnegie Deli is very good and a bargain at $4.95 plus tax. It weighs about 3/4 of a pound. The meat knish filling consists of corn beef and pastrami scraps from the slicer added into mashed potatoes. The wrapping is a rich pie crust.

                                                                                                                  The potato and kasha knishes at Carnegie aren't bad either.

                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: BigGuy

                                                                                                                    Sarge's has something like that too, they call it a "deli wellington." It's good stuff.

                                                                                                                    1. re: ChiefHDB

                                                                                                                      is mrs. stahl's knishes still around? i liked those. i had a YS knish in 1997. thought it was good but not a knish connoisseur. i preferred stahl's. but YS's make hamentaschen? i may have to try it. i usually get it at moishe's on 2nd ave. but they haven't been very good in the past few years. i think a lot of the "old world"--for lack of a better word--baked goods just aren't done the right way anymore. lament.

                                                                                                                      1. re: lawyerlady

                                                                                                                        Mrs. Stahl's were the best in recent years, but they're gone now.

                                                                                                                        YS has decent hamantascen (i do prefer moishe's) and great streudel. their rugelach looked nice as well.

                                                                                                                        another good hamantaschen is 9th st bakery off 1st.

                                                                                                                        1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                          Just FYI, the singular of hamantashn (various transliterations exist) is hamantash. I just thought you'd like to know. :-)

                                                                                                                    2. re: BigGuy

                                                                                                                      YUK.........man thats like the poor mans version of their $15 corned beef sandwich, or maybe buying ground lox instead of the hand sliced fish. I tried it and sorry i disagree, i thought it was chalushes [which in Yiddish means putrid] , otherwise Carnegie gets an A rating from me.

                                                                                                                    3. Are you all nuts? Yonnah Shimmel is an icon to the neighbourhood. Always has been, and hopefully, it always will.

                                                                                                                      I cannot give you a negative, because I've only indulged in the blueberry-cheese knish since the late 60s. When recently purchased for the first time in years, so thoroughly delighted, I walked passed my destination while enjoying this delightful, delectable treat. A cold BLUEBERRY CHEESE KNISH is an outstanding breakfast !

                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: ZaZa

                                                                                                                        The Blueberry cheese comes streudel shaped right? I've had the cherry and it was decent enough to order a few times and finish eating.

                                                                                                                        Try their Potato Knish and get back to us though.
                                                                                                                        It's a neighborhood icon but the knishes can be on the barely edible side.

                                                                                                                        1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                          The Blueberry-Cheese Knish is square and delicious, open on the sides--and please, not to be confused with streudel, which is more round & elongated. I used to live on lower Second Avenue and have tried a number of their knishes; but now, I only have eyes for the blueberry cheese.

                                                                                                                          If anything happens to Yonnah Shimmel, Russ & Daughters, and Katz's; it will be over for the Lower-East Side.

                                                                                                                          1. re: ZaZa

                                                                                                                            The sweet knishes are basically streudels with knish dough as the wrapper. They're baked in long streudel shapes, and cut which is why they're open on 2 sides.

                                                                                                                            1. re: ZaZa

                                                                                                                              The difference is that Russ and Katz's serve wonderful things to eat. Yonnah serves inedible crap. The knishes they serve at Katz's are better than what they serve at Yonnah. Try both styles of knish they serve at Katz's.

                                                                                                                              A blueberry-cheese knish is an abomination, in any case..

                                                                                                                              1. re: gutsofsteel

                                                                                                                                <Yonnah serves inedible crap.>
                                                                                                                                Torn between agreement and disagreement, as I've had a few good knishes there over the years.

                                                                                                                                <A blueberry-cheese knish is an abomination, in any case...>
                                                                                                                                Agree completely.

                                                                                                                          1. re: guttergourmet

                                                                                                                            So basically, they've all but given up on selling a quality knish, and they're experimenting with weird combinations. I hope it works out for them.

                                                                                                                          2. I usually got the cold borsht w/sour cream at YS. That was always good in the hot summer. As I recall the knishes were okay, at least in the early eighties, but I didn't go there often. Mrs. Stahl's was my favorite, especially the Spanish Rice version. If it weren't for greedy landlords they'd still be there. My subway stop when I come to town now is right by Knish Knosh and I like them fine and it's probably worth the trip. There's a nice triangular park across the blvd. where you can hang out.

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: JulianPantangeli

                                                                                                                              I recently bought what i think was a pretty good knish at the Union Square Farmers Market on a Friday from a stand I think was "Not Just Rugelach" or something like that on the Park Ave side. They had plain potato, broccoli and cheese, plus spinach and feta when I was there.

                                                                                                                              1. re: rolise

                                                                                                                                Does anyone know if Yonnah Schimmel still serves matzoh ball soup? Maybe in winter? If so, is it any good? Meant to try it last time they had it, but was in a hurry.


                                                                                                                            2. I'm surprised nobody mentioned Noah's Ark on Grand st. If you are in the area of YS, this is a much better option for a knish. Their knishes are actually crusty, they way a knish should be. And they will split the knish for you and fill it with pastrami or other deli - DELISH!!

                                                                                                                              Noah's Ark
                                                                                                                              399 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

                                                                                                                              1. the incredible length of this thread (119 posts to say either: a) "Yonah Schimmel serves awful food" vs b) "Yonah Schimmel serves mediocre food but we like the 'history' of it") makes me want it to close down as soon as possible...

                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Simon

                                                                                                                                  No, nobody wants a piece of history to close down. We want them to sell a better knish. There's practically no place left in the world to get a really good one.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: addictedtolunch

                                                                                                                                    They've had decades to try to get it right -- i don't think it's going to happen...in the meantime, many optimistic sentimental folks have been fleeced out of a few bucks buying food that tastes like sand...

                                                                                                                                      1. re: yebo

                                                                                                                                        yohan is not the same I grew up near it and went all the time went back a few years ago.......not the same pretty lousy but they once were great.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: monkfist

                                                                                                                                          To be honest i remember working back in the 1970s in the summertime with my dad when he made kosher meat deliveries to stores and yonah schimmels was one of the stops. The place looked 100 years old and in need of a renovation. my dad bought a box of potato and kashe, we tried them at dinner time. The only word i have to describe it was "chalushes!!! Feh. Almost like gabilas oy.

                                                                                                                                2. I finally had a Yonah Schimmel Knish and I was very happy with my baseball sized mass of potatoes, onions, spinach and whatever else was in it. My only prior knish experience was the pre-made knishes from the pretzel carts. It was right after a visit to the Tenement Museum, so it was an appropriate finale to a historical outing. My expectations for dough covered potatoes were pretty low to begin with.

                                                                                                                                  Yonah Schimmel's Knishes
                                                                                                                                  137 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                                                                                                                                  1. I wouldn't recommend the hot dogs at Katz's. Their's was one of the worst hot dogs I ever had. Stale bun, dried out, salty dog. THAT was a disgrace.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: chervil9

                                                                                                                                      If you are there and the sandwich line is crazy long, give it another try while you wait.

                                                                                                                                      I've had several and have not been disappointed.

                                                                                                                                    2. You need a sense of humor here just if you even go in. It's a tourist stop, for people who want to accept cold, refrigerated bland and soggy knishes "just two hours old" and don't know what they once missed. They will heat them in a microwave for you. Nice of them. You need to be able to laugh and realize this place is a put-on, and nothing more. If it's good knishes you want, you can get better ones at the supermarket and heat them in the oven. I'm still laughing. We were there yesterday.

                                                                                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: boilerhousepete

                                                                                                                                        I thought they closed? You were there yesterday. What's up with that. Did they close and reopen?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                                                                                          They were open when I walked by last week. Their website is updated. Why do you think they closed?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                            Someone told me it was closed, but maybe they went last week, it was still a Jewish Holiday, so maybe that is why they were closed.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                                                                                              Oh, that makes sense. There are a lot of holidays packed into these few weeks.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: boilerhousepete

                                                                                                                                          Well its beyond me how this place has survived, just goes to prove that some people have taste like a cow! I went to Yonah Shimmels once to see what the big deal was and this was maybe in the 1970s. If people can eat gabilas deep fryed dreck then i guess they can eat this stuff. My dead grandmother [may she rest in peace] ,used to make baked potato and kasha knishes that was a recipe from my uncles place on the boardwalk in the Rockaways at Beach 35th street. They also made fruit filled cheese knishes. I remember this because as a little boy i used to watch the knishes being handmade there in the summertime. These were delicious! This was at Sams Boardwalk Grill. And also just a few doors down was competition!! Jerry's Knishes. His product was good too. Alas these places are gone and so is the geschmack flavor !!! [grandma also made some killer meat kreplach] , eh oh well look at it on the bright side ,less calories to consume. Here's a photo of my uncles place on the boardwalk. It was in operation from 1939-69 sorry i don't have a daytime pic.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: beermug

                                                                                                                                            Gabilla's is still in business somehow, and people mention them on CH (usually in relation to a Katz's visit). I can't wrap my head around it, but I also can't fathom how we lost the real knish entirely, and people moving to NY today will never truly know the difference. I'm thankful Mrs. Stahl's hung on as long as they did.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                                              Well, out here in Oceanside ,New York there is a jewish bakery named Steinbergs. They sell baked knishes that are made by Oceanside Knish Factory. The bakery is in Lincoln Shopping Center phone 516-763-0063. They carry like 8 or 10 different kinds of baked knishes. They are closed early on Fridays and all day Saturday. Facebook page has a photo of the knishes. I would call first if you intend to go buy some.
                                                                                                                                              i think the pic is of garlic knishes.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                                                i liked Mrs Stahl's a lot. i give Gabillah's credit where credit is due. The guy has dominated the market and has been extremely successful. I have seen some of the "rotten" potatoes he has used to make knishes. Actually sickening. But I guess in the end he gets a knish that sells well. He moved his factory from Brooklyn to a new location. I'm assuming it is the same owner.
                                                                                                                                                The round knishes at Katz's are very good, if you can somehow persuade the counterman to heat it up for you .They hate doing it.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                                                                                                  Are you sure the round one at Katz's isn't coming from Yonah Schimmel? Sure look similar.

                                                                                                                                                  Zabar's is where I've had the most luck, but they don't have the flavor they once did/

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                                                    Heh they probably are not using sauteed onions or maybe less salt or spices. Talking about these ethnic foods reminds me of when i was a kid in the old neighborhood [beach channel drive & 69th street in Rockaway]. Laskers meat market was a mom and pop store. And Mrs Lasker used to make meat kreplach, on Thursdays to sell for Friday mornings. Oh gosh they were large and filled with a cooked mixture of beef garlic and onions, and she used to coat the outer dough with fresh rendered chicken fat to keep them from getting air dryed. Wow i remember just eating them right out of the package, they never made it into my chicken soup bowl. Ah the recipes from the old country :-)
                                                                                                                                                    Sorry guys i know it has nothing to do with knishes just enjoying a gastronomic memory.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: foodwhisperer

                                                                                                                                                    gabilas made it big by marketing his product at cheap prices to the mass distribution of supermarkets. If it can be frozen it can be shipped nationwide. Also those deep fryed squares is what the dirty water hotdog men sell on the corners in NY. They can hold up longer than the baked ones, so that is probably one reason but im betting that they offered big discounts to distributors. ive tried their round knishes which come packaged in some supermarkets, my analysis is one word "FEH!!"