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ISO Chopped Liver

Sometimes I delude myself by following the Second Avenue Deli trucks around Manhattan, the ones that say "Follow this truck for the best chopped liver in NYC" only to wind up at the hardware store that bought the truck when 2nd Ave deli died. One of my last memories of 2nd ave deli was eating a CL sandwich al fresco as the rye bread disintegrated under the weight of a pound and a half of their chopped liver. Where can I go?

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  1. I don't like chopped liver, but for Passover earlier this year, I bought some at Russ & Daughters. My guests gobbled it up.

    1. I agree on Russ & Daughters.

      The cheese store on 3rd Ave. between 9th and 10th St. also makes a good CL.

      And of course there's nothing like the CL at Sammy's Rumanian Steakhouse, though you really have to be there, to see the server chop it up in a giant bowl, hold a pint bottle overhead and pour an instant heart attack of schmaltz into it.

      1. In addition to Russ & Daughters and Sammy's, I also like the chopped liver at Sarge's on Third Ave. It tastes home made with sauteed onions and hard boiled eggs.

        1. Supersol is a kosher grocery/take-out deli on upper west, not sure of exact location, but their chopped liver is excellent. Also, Barney Greengrass on Upper West has excellent chopped liver. Supersol version is a little darker/meatier and sweeter.

          1. definitely russ & daughters, if you're downtown.

            1. I have always enjoyed the chopped liver available at Zabar's, but I haven't tried any of the others posted in this thread. However, the one at Zabar's was extremely close to my mother's handchopped version.

              1. I would have to agree- Zabar's CL is so delicious.

                1. Yet to be mentioned yet is Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop, 5th Ave. bet 22nd and 23rd, washed down with a pretty decent egg cream in an environment to match if not beat the old 2nd Ave Deli's. Note that your bread probably won't disintegrate, like it or not.

                  1. Although I've never tried it, I know my friend frequently orders chopped liver sandwiches from mendy's.

                    1. Call me crazy, but the Food Emporium makes a really good chopped liver. IMO it's better than TAL...better than Essa Bagel.

                      I recently had Zabars chopped liver....yuck. It was made from chicken livers rather than the usual beef liver that most places use.

                      1. Ummm...Jennie, classic Chopped Liver is invariably made with chicken livers, not beef or calves liver. Also, I think Food Emporium's version uses Mayo as a filler. A real no-no.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: keith

                          I have had in depth converations with the guy who makes the chopped liver at Essa and Tal and both use beef. Chicken goes bad way to quickly...they say. 2nd Ave Deli's chopped liver was beef too.

                          As for Food Emporiuim...no mayo listed on the packaging.

                          1. re: keith

                            My late mother, whose much-loved recipe came straight from the old country, always used steer liver - never chicken (and not calf).

                          2. It's got to be Barney Greengrass.

                            Anyone know who *makes* the chopped liver at Russ and Daughters?

                            1. Sarge's does a pretty decent chopped liver.

                              Of course, the best ever was my grandmother's.

                              1. Eastern Europeans use Chicken livers for their chopped liver. Beef liver is just to heavy. I would also never, ever purchase a product like chopped liver at the Food Emporium. Also a serious NO NO. Who knows how long that's been sittin around...

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Tal

                                  I am telling you....try it. I was VERY skeptical about Food Emporium, especially b/c it is pre-packaged, but my sister continued to tell me how good it was. I am the type of person who asks the guy behind the counter for a spoon of the chopped liver so i can make sure it is not sour before i buy. I have never had a bad experience buying this stuff....there is a packaging and sell by date...plus I always ask the deli guy when it was made. Same goes for any Waldbaums in LI.

                                  Why do I always feel like I am on trial when i write a response on CH...ugh.

                                  1. re: jenniebnyc

                                    You're right. Everyone's opinion should be respected. As my grandma used to say if someone was disrespecting or ignoring her: "What am I? Chopped Liver?"

                                2. This is a misconception. Eastern European Jews use both chicken and beef; perhaps it relates to particular regions.

                                  Wikipedia's entry on chopped liver notes that both chicken and beef are used; the Jewish recipe archive is split (about half chicken, half beef), and the recipe at Aish.com (jewish website) calls for just "liver" (which I take to mean beef, since chicken liver is invariably specified as such).

                                  Finally, as posted above, my mother (of Jewish eastern european descent) got her recipe from her immigrant mother: it called for steer liver (calves liver didn't have enough flavor), and it was far from "heavy". I miss it to this day, as does the gantzeh mishpucheh (extended family).

                                  1. Another vote for R & D, and while you are there try just about anything else they carry.

                                    1. Citarella has very good chopped chicken liver if you can't get downtown.

                                      I am shocked about the beef/chicken issue. I always assumed chopped liver was made from chicken since that is the way my grandmother made it. One day in search of chopped liver I went into Ess a Bagel and could not believe that theirs was beef liver. Needless to say, I did not buy it.

                                      And now people are saying that traditional chopped liver, a la 2nd Avenue Deli, is made from beef????? Is this really true? Live and learn!!

                                      Those here that make it themselves, how do you make it??? I must admit I made it last year with chicken and it was pretty terrible but I just improvised and did not look a a recipe...

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: erica

                                        According to the second Ave. Deli cookbook thhe chopped liver is made with half chicken half beef.

                                      2. Just sampled the "new" 2nd Avenue Deli's chopped liver. Just as I remembered it. Who needs foie gras?