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Liebman's Deli - Bronx, NY - a Chowhound Recco pans out

peasoup Nov 13, 2006 10:32 PM

Real Jewish deli still exists in the Bronx - and I found it at Liebman's.
Over the years I have watched in dismay as these great places closed their doors, one after another.
A Chowhound recco sent me here on a recent visit home, and boy am I grateful.

As soon as I walked in, the memories came flooding back, which were reinforced when the food was served.

I ordered the special - soup, choice of knish, latke or fries, sandwich, served with cole slaw and two kinds of pickles.

I ordered matzoh ball soup - not great, but good, with golden broth, lots of fine egg noodles, tender carrots, and a large matzoh ball which was light and airy.
The knish was out of a time machine - golden brown, somewhat chewy crust wrapped around a smooth, flavorful potato filling. Topped with some of the house mustard, this was a delight.
My pastrami sandwich was not an overstuffed behemoth, but rather a sane amount of tasty pastrami on serviceable rye bread. Taken as a whole, this was a very good sandwich.
The cole slaw was crisp and fresh tasting. The only disappointment were the pickles - both the dill and the half sours were nondescript.
I was tempted to order a grilled hot dog - it looked delicious, but I had my fill for one day. Next time, we'll get one of those.
The tariff for this meal was a very fair 12.99 + +
The experience of being smack dab in the middle of the Jewish delis of my youth was worth far more.
Recommended - and hurry - places like this have a way of disappearing while we're not paying attention.

  1. m
    mrbeachy Nov 13, 2006 10:34 PM

    can you post the address and phone # and any other relevant information when you get a chance? thanks

    3 Replies
    1. re: mrbeachy
      peasoup Nov 13, 2006 10:47 PM

      My pleasure:
      552 W 235th St
      Bronx, NY 10463
      (718) 548-4534

      1. re: peasoup
        dan f. May 18, 2007 03:16 PM

        Is this in Riverdale? Off the Henry Hudson Pkwy? (I grew up in NYC but no longer live there so my geo is rusty.)
        This place sounds great.

        1. re: dan f.
          RichK May 19, 2007 06:16 AM

          Yes, it's in Riverdale. West 235th Street

    2. Striver Nov 14, 2006 01:44 PM

      Liebman's is just as you describe - an old-school neighborhood deli, and a good one. The grilled franks are fine, BTW; I favor a well-done one with mustard and cole slaw (they also do a nice potato salad).

      10 Replies
      1. re: Striver
        mutant4 May 17, 2007 01:59 PM

        Liebman's is amazing. Possibly the best deli in the new york area. Their tongue is to die for and you could just plotz over the hush puppies and mini knishes.

        1. re: mutant4
          addictedtolunch May 18, 2007 03:39 AM

          Maybe the word "best" goes a bit far (and I grew up in the place and was friends with the owners), but it's very good, and the atmosphere hits the mark exactly. And if you want to enhance your old school Jewish dinner-in-the-Bronx experience, step right next door into Mother's Bakery and get an eclair for dessert (and bring a babka home).

          1. re: addictedtolunch
            RichK May 18, 2007 02:47 PM

            Well the wife and I will be in the area on Wednesday and Thursday (5/23 & 5/24) and we will definitely check it out. We live in southern VT (both of us ex-NY'ers) and a good jewish deli is unheard of up here. Knishes, tongue, pickles mmmmmmm!!!!!

          2. re: mutant4
            erica May 19, 2007 06:26 AM

            Since when are hush puppies a Jewish deli staple?

            1. re: mutant4
              MVNYC May 19, 2007 11:17 AM

              I grew up in Riverdale. The food is good not great. My meal growing up was the hot open faced tongue sandwich. it normally comes with the sweet stuffed cabbage type sauce but i always ordered it with the brown gravy. Good to dip the fries in.

              As to Mother's Bakery, my sister and i always thouoght we hated bakeries because this was the one everyone in the neighbourhood bought from. Little did i realize that this was because mothers sucks. Really bad baked goods

              1. re: MVNYC
                addictedtolunch May 19, 2007 11:34 AM

                Obviously disagree on the bakery- (Perhaps you're describing Heislers? That one had a bigger following.) Oh well. On the tongue, I think the dish you reference may have been called "Tongue Polonaise".

                1. re: addictedtolunch
                  MVNYC May 19, 2007 11:53 AM

                  No I am describing Mothers. As a child i hated baked goods. It was because mothers was terrible. Their Rye Bread was pretty good. That could be the name of the tongue dish though at Liebmans its just under the hot open faced section.

                  1. re: MVNYC
                    Miss Needle May 19, 2007 03:23 PM

                    I agree with you about Mothers. I just don't think it's that special. In the immediate area, I think it's the only bakery. Perhaps that's why everybody ordered from there.

                  2. re: addictedtolunch
                    jdf May 19, 2007 04:18 PM

                    Ive had limited items from Mother's, but always felt their chocolate babka (especially when still warm) is outstanding.

                    1. re: jdf
                      aunteejoy Jul 3, 2008 09:17 AM

                      The babka at Mother's is, indeed, something special. We regularly bring this as a gift when going to people's homes. My husband has carried their chocolate babka to CA, AZ and London!

                      Always a treat!

            2. NYJewboy Jul 3, 2008 09:43 AM

              I don't know about you people. I lived up the street from Liebman's and Mother's for about a year, and thought that they were both pretty damn mediocre. Mother's especially was not impressive. I guess some of the stuff at the deli you can't go too wrong with, but let's separate nostalgia from food a bit, shall we?

              4 Replies
              1. re: NYJewboy
                Striver Jul 4, 2008 03:48 PM

                Never had much use for Mother's, but Leibman's is a solid old neighborhood deli, definitely better than Skyview or Epstein's (up Central). I wouldn't say it's worth a detour, but there's nothing wrong with it.

                1. re: Striver
                  intrepid Jul 6, 2008 06:03 AM

                  ive read this post, ive been to liebmans many times. the food is ok, place is described as " the best" is often used by new yorkers, it is a poor way to describe most things, and is way over used here in chowhound.

                  1. re: intrepid
                    bronxer Jul 6, 2008 09:31 PM

                    Liebman's has great dogs -- especially with onions and mustard. But that's about it. As for Mother's, their challah is pretty good, and we'll try the babka, it does look good. But everything else there is terrible. Aside from these few items, Riverdale is a barren wasteland when it comes to food. And I live here! The Tibbett diner is pretty good, but that's in Kingsbridge.

                    1. re: bronxer
                      petefeliz Jul 13, 2008 06:54 PM

                      I've lived in Riverdale for 16 years, and pretty much agree w/bronxer about Liebman's, Tibbet and Mother's.
                      BUT every summer around August (earlier this year) Mother's offer what they call "Peach Cobbler." It's really fresh cut peaches on a puff pastry square, glazed and baked off. The puff pastry is deflated, but it's pretty good compared to the rest of what they offer. Also the Friday Russian coffee cake is delectable awfulness. Try a slab of it (either cinnamon raisin or chocolate) and you'll see what I mean.

              2. Brian S Jul 22, 2008 06:09 AM

                One thing to note about Liebman's. "Liebman's is one of very few places in New York," wrote the Times in 2005, "that still make their own pastrami and slice it to order; one of the owners, Yuval Dekel, said he rubs a whole brisket of beef with pepper, sugar, and salt; then he smokes it, and then steams it 'until the proteins in the meat just give in.' " Yum!!

                1. bosun Dec 29, 2008 11:20 AM

                  Had to revive this old thread! I went to Liebman's this past week and got pastrami with mustard on a roll (i don't like rye). It was outstanding! One of the better pastrami sandwiches I've had. The meat was flavorful and moist, without being overly fatty.
                  I am so glad neighborhood places like this are still alive and ticking. I also stopped into Mothers bakery for some black and white cookies to bring to Christmas with the family. Soft, sweet and delicious!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: bosun
                    aunteejoy Dec 30, 2008 05:31 AM

                    Try the new M&M bakery on Johnson for authentic Israeli-style pita and bureks.

                    1. re: aunteejoy
                      bosun Dec 30, 2008 05:56 AM

                      awesome! i can't wait to check it out! thanks.

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