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Ken's Place

  • m

Is he still doing the NYC deli thing once a week? I'll be there over labor day weekend..and beyond.

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  1. Yes, on saturdays. They've been selling out by 1:30 or 2:00pm.

    1. Had the lox and bagel plate today, also tried the egg cream, rugelach and salmon hash. All of it was pretty damn tasty.

      The egg cream made with Dagoba chocolate syrup is awesome, a huge step up from Fox's U-Bet to be sure. Rugelach was flaky and moist and very flavorful. The lox was very good (as was the sesame bagel, but I'd order it toasted next time, 'cuz I like it that way) and the pickled onions that came with it were stellar. Partner's salmon hash was good, but it isn't my kind of thing.

      I've had the pastrami and think it is damn good, but we were there early and, for me anyway, it isn't breakfast food. Next time we go, we'll get there closer to noon for the pastrami.

      1. Does he make his own bagels?

        1. I believe, but am not certain, that the bagels are made by one "Michael Zusman"

          1 Reply
          1. re: purefog

            the BIG problem with the deli. Is the hours?
            9Am - 2:30
            It would be nice if you could go for dinner

          2. Where is this place? (What city) Thanks.

            1. Portland. If I recall aright, it's at 1852 S.E. Hawthorne.

              1. Thanks JillO. If we leave on Friday,,,,we can make it Saturday. Otherwise we are screwed. Damn. I want to hit Appiza Scholls too...but they are on vacation from Aug. 21 to Sept. 5th I think. I hope they are back on the 5th!

                I think Tony Bourdain did a piece there for his show next season...at Appiza in Portland.

                1 Reply
                1. re: melly

                  I just read the piece in Portland Monthly on Kenny and Zuke's (is that correct?), but they said the NY deli thing is on Sundays. Can anyone tell me if it's Saturdays or Sundays? Trying to go this weekend. Thanks!

                2. It is Saturdays, NOT Sundays. The PM got it very, very wrong.

                  Yes, Michael Z. does make the bagels. They are the best in town and he occasionally (maybe once or twice a year) sells them at the PSU Farmers' Market. I think that the next time that may happen is in the fall. When it does, you must get there before or by 8:30/9am to get some because they sell out very quickly.

                  Ken's does do a dinner service Saturday night (starting at 5:30, I think), but it is NOT the deli, it is the regular menu for Ken's restaurant. The hours for deli are ONLY 9am-2:30pm on Saturday.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JillO

                    Yep, tried to get his bagels at the Farmer's Market whenever he was there in the spring. Got there at 10:00, which is very early for us (we like to sleep), and he was already sold out. Got to chat with him a bit, and lamented the fact that Portland has no good bagels. I am truly looking forward to trying his. I travel to Manhattan two to three times a year for work, and eat bagels every day, and always bring back a dozen.

                    Thanks for clarifying the day!

                  2. Man, I think the moderators deleted my previous corrections, but I'll try again.

                    It's 9:30am-2:30pm Saturdays. The address is indeed 1852 SE Hawthorne, right next to a Starbucks. The deli foods are available only during these hours. There is both take-out and eat-in.

                    The bagels are indeed by Touch of Grace, ie, Michael Zusman. Otherwise, everything else but the soda, beer, and lox are made by me, Ken, and Chelsea, Ken's line cook, including the pastrami, which is brined and smoked by us using Cascade Natural Beef.

                    btw, we only sold out one week, I believe, since we moved from the Hillsdale Farmers Market to the restaurant. This last week we had about 15 lbs of pastrami leftover and are making about 20 lbs more than we were.

                    I'm the Zuke part of Kenny and Zuke's. I'm associated only with Kenny & Zuke's, not Ken's Place or LOW BBQ.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: extramsg

                      Thanks! Looking forward to the bagel and lox plate, and my husband's already drooling over the prospect of the pastrami sandwich.

                      1. re: JessWil

                        The pastrami is definitely drool-worthy. I liked that smoke ring on the pastrami and it was lusciously moist with fatty bits. It's not Katz's, but it's d— good.
                        The corned beef hash and eggs are excellent with big chunks of corned beef. Gotta love those yolk-dripping potatoes.

                        The egg cream is perfect with Dagoba chocolate (I can make it at home with Fox's U-Bet chocolate flavor syrup). Give me Dagoba everytime.

                    2. Based on our one visit, I have to give Ken's deli effort a less glowing review than most folks -- and we have really liked Ken's for dinners and LOW BBQ night, so this visit was a bit of a let down after all the hype over Pastrami King and comments that they are modeling themselves after landmarks like Katz's. Here were our gripes:

                      * The meat. I had a reuben, my wife had the corned beef hash. I found the pastrami excessively smoky. I don't think pastrami should taste like barbecue, which this did. It was also quite tough, with lots of unrendered connective tissue, as were the (rather sparse) bits of corned beef in the hash. Katz's big, juicy pile of the most tender hand-sliced pastrami you've ever sampled, this was not.

                      * The bagel. We shared a bagel and lox platter, and the bagel could almost be described as hard or tough -- it was waaay beyond chewy, and was quite dry. As a matter of personal taste, my wife had to scrape off the cream cheese because she's not fond of a big thick layer of cream cheese and it was applied in the kitchen instead of served on the side as is the norm for lox platters. I also really like the contrast of a slice of crisp fresh onion with a bagel and lox, but this was served with pickled onion, which as a condiment I thought was redundant with the capers. The lox itself was very good.

                      * I asked for a sample of the chopped liver. I've found that there are two types of recipes for chopped liver, the "pasty" variety and the "creamy" variety. I prefer the latter, but Ken's recipe was the former. Again, more a matter of personal taste than anything.

                      1. how does the lox platter compare to that of mother's? it just seems like the H&H bagel is hard to beat on it's own. and then, of course, they house cure their lox....

                        1. (Disclosure: For what it's worth, I've known "Zuke," aka ExtraMSG, for a long time.)

                          The pastrami I had at Kenny & Zuke's kicked ass. I probably ate a pound of it while I was in Portland over the Labor Day weekend, and took about three pounds of it home with me. My only complaint is that I would prefer to see a fattier cut of meat used (e.g., deckle or plate), though I'd probably be in the minority in the Portland market on that point.



                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Scott

                            Where have you had pastrami made with plate that you prefer. The one I had at Kenny & Zukes almost initiated a gag reflex. It was about 75% fat and cut about 3/8 inch thick. Several NY'ers I know who had it also gave it a WTF.
                            Maybe we are just not as hardcore as you guys though.


                          2. My beef with the pastrami is that it should be more thinly sliced, but I guess Ken doesn't want to go the bucks for a commercial slicer that he would use once a week.

                            1. Actually, it's just a matter of taste. At Carnagie and Stage in NYC, they slice it thin, but at Katz's, the slicing is closer to Kenny and Zuke's. I certainly doubt their decision has anything to do with money, since their quality is as high as it could possibly be.