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New York Kosher Deli Update

I checked with the Second Avenue Deli. They are still answering their phone and saying they are working on the possibility of securing a new location, though the longer it goes, the less likely it seems to me. Does anybody have intel on this?
Meanwhile, Pastrami Queen on the Upper East Side has become my substitute deli of choice. Just make sure you ask for the center cut when ordering corned beef or pastrami. The sandwiches I've had there are Second-Avenue-Deli quality, though the sides are not as amazing.

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  1. I have found that the delis in Brooklyn are good as well. Crown Deli on 13 Avenue and 49 Street is an old classic, and they have a lot of good deli and sides. Also, I have found that a place called Tov U maitiv on Nostrand Avenue and Avenue M is also good for what would be considered deli sides. I myself miss the Second Avenue Deli, the last of a great era.

    1 Reply
    1. re: DSCHWARTZ

      Could someone please elaborate on Crown Deli on 13th and 49th street? I will add the Liebmans, which is hechshered under the STate of New York's kosher laws, is faaaaantastic. The roast beef was juicy. The fries are superb. Even just the coleslaw was splendid. It's a the bottom of the pile regarding reliable kashrut in today's standards, but boy is it great!

    2. I have only eaten at the glatt places, so, for my information what is so unique about Second Ave deli, did they cure their own meats with a unique blend of spices? Did they use a higher quality of meat? or is it more just a traditional way of preparing the food?
      Could a person buy deli from a butcher and make a similar sandwich or does it take special equipment like a press to sqeeze the liquids out of the pastrami....
      I know that Crown is owned by some of the older generation of the Rubashkin family, i think its the parents of the Aaron's meat people, and I always heard they were very generous to needy people but no-one in Boro Park ever told me that it was considered popular with foodies...

      1. Funny you should mention the 2nd Ave. Deli. I just read somewhere that they were planning on reopening soon. Can't remember where -- another board perhaps? So it's obviously not official. I confess that I never ate there, but after reading and hearing great things about it, I intend to try it as soon as they reopen.

        1. I have very fond memories of taking my parents and son to the 2nd Ave deli and waiting outside reading the sidewalk inscriptions of the actors from the Yiddish stage. The mushroom barley soup was killer and I rate it as high as Ratner's mushroom barley soup which was supreme. I really miss it and can't seem to find any to replace it. Also, Deli Queen on the upper eastside is excellent although, some of the corned beef sandwhichs that were delivered were below par (had grizzle). Generally, excellent when eaten in the store.

          1. Sorry, I was referring to Pastrami Queen on the Upper East Side.

            1. I was glad to see 2nd Ave die. They ran the place into the ground, and the last couple years, charged absurd prices ($22 for a pastrami!), cut the portions way down, and had terrible meat. Good ridance. They were never the same once the sons took over...
              The best deli now i think is Essex. There's one downtown (by Battery park) and one on Coney Island in BK. Not great, but reasonable prices for a good (and big) sandwich.

              1. Essex in NO WAY compares to 2nd ave Deli (or Bernsteins for that matter). Sadly there is no place left that makes kashe varnishkes the old fashioned way with gravy! Also no one else does chicken soup, with real real chickens as the base. Every time I eat at essex I tend to get ill.

                1. 2nd ave killed Essex, pitagirl is right. I don't care for gravy with my KV though.

                  1. I've had Essex in Manhattan twice in the last two years and it was dreadful both times. I haven't had essex in brklyn in at least five years, but when i lived there, i thought it was a good deli. I do hear, however, that essex in manhattan makes a decent chulent.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: abu applesauce

                      The cholent is really good at Essex, but I think that the one at Mr. Broadway is exceptionally good. Essex doesn't seem to me to be as bad as all that...their pastrami burger is really good in a gross, Mylanta type of way.

                    2. Speaking of Essex on Coney, I noticed tonight that the Uncle Louie G next door is no more.

                      1. proving once again the palate is really subjective.
                        to compare essex with the old 2nd ave is like
                        like comparing dunkin donuts to payard.

                        1. While the diversity of the board is refreshing, it also lends to unfortunate results when making comparisons. For those that only eat Glatt, there is no way to adequately compare 2nd Avenue Deli with Essex on Coney since 2nd Avenue was not Glatt.

                          As to comparing Payard to Dunkin Donuts, I did not know that Payard sold donuts (or that DD made truffles). Of course the fact that Payard's cakes in its severely limited Kosher line are $24 a piece and you could get three dozen donuts for the same price may also factor into the equation.

                          1. "While the diversity of the board is refreshing, it also lends to unfortunate results when making comparisons. For those that only eat Glatt, there is no way to adequately compare 2nd Avenue Deli with Essex on Coney since 2nd Avenue was not Glatt."

                            Maybe, but what about glatt kosher meat makes meat better or worse, in your opinion? Or are you just saying that those Glatt people will have never had 2nd Avenue and thus couldn't compare the two?

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: DeisCane

                              Exactly - people who only eat Glatt have no idea what 2nd Avenue product tasted like. As such, while they can comment on the Essex on Coney cuisine they cannot make comparisons.

                              The above was not a comment as to whether Glatt tastes better or is better quality and was not intended to be construed in that manner.

                              1. re: PapaT

                                Actually, i walked into second ave deli about 3 years ago and spoke with the manager.
                                All the meat they use actually was glatt, it was rubashkin meat, however he said, "the reason we dont have a hashgacha (he used those words) is because we are open on shabbos and because we don't have a mashgiach. all our food is glatt kosher but it is for those reasons we have no hashgacha"
                                I asked him "so then technically i can eat here?"
                                He told me "NO, if you ate here you wouldn't be eating treif, but you would be eating from a place without a reliable hashgacha, so no you cannot eat here"
                                i was very impressed by that

                            2. kiddush,

                              That was my understanding as well. That's a nice story. Thanks for sharing.

                              1. I think we can get a good answer to that on this board, though she's remained pretty quiet about it up to now.

                                1. I think Mendy's has good deli sandwiches, I just pick them up at Grand Central.