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KNish Nosh - A Travesty

goldfish Feb 24, 2007 06:25 AM

Knish Nosh - A Travesty

My wife and I, hungry for massive Jewish-deli sandwiches and having eyed Knish Nosh many times from the outside since having moved to Forest Hills, decided to try it recently. We felt very safe that we'd get excellent food there, having seen the brand in local supermarkets many times.

The place certainly was busy, most customers seeming to be there for the knishes - we managed to order a brisket sandwich and a corned beef sandwich ($10 each and described on the menu as "overstuffed") though the service wasn't so hot.

Disappointment #1 came when we learned they were almost out of Rye bread, so one of us would have to have our sandwich on an Italian-style hero roll. That was weird, but I soldiered on and chose to have my hot brisket on that, leaving the Rye for my wife's hot corned beef.

The fellow making the sandwiches took forever, puttering about and finally asked me about what we wanted on the sandwiches. He offered lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles. We were kind of surprised by this and didn't know quite how to respond - those toppings didn't seem appropriate on what we'd ordered, where we'd ordered them. We declined lettuce, tomato and onions an asked for the pickles on the side.

After an extremely long time of dickering about, during which we shared a kasha knish with mustard (good, but nothing to rave about), he finally served our sandwiches. This was a significant length of time waiting - we were hungry and annoyed by the same a paper plate with our sandwiches were served on paper plates, with another paper plate of, yes - sliced tomatoes, lettuce, onions and shockingly enough - SLICED pickles. All cut razor-thin on the meat slicer. No big, crunchy Kosher pickles here, no - he'd sliced them. Super-strange.

Then we observed our sandwiches. Overstuffed, they were not - far, far from it. The lukewarm meat on the bread (Italian hero roll for me, remember, and Rye for her) was almost an afterthought. Incredibly disappointing and not worth a fraction of the $10 price tag.

My wife, fed up by this point, took the sandwiches up to a silver-haired gent we presumed to be the owner - he took them back to the visibly annoyed sandwich maker and told him it wasn't enough meat, to add that amount again.

Another ten or fifteen minutes passed while we watched the fellow, whose only speeds seemed to be slow and slower, open up the sandwiches and laboriously put on more brisket and corned beef. They'd already been cut, you see, and when we were (finally!) re-served, they were atrocious, sloppy messes of room-temperature meat on over-handled bread and absolutely disappointing to behold.

My wife had been ready to walk out a good long time before, but I had been trying to get us to soldier through and make the best of it, but even I had had enough when I realized that the Italian hero roll had ended up to be the one with corned beef and the brisket was on the Rye. I'd had enough.

I demanded, and got, our money back from the sandwich maker, though he exhibited tremendous irritation just this side of anger.

We left, tremendously disappointed and disgusted. You have been warned.

  1. j
    judy Feb 24, 2007 06:29 AM

    Next time go to Ben's in Rego--just a few blocks down, near 63rd Drive..

    1. goldfish Feb 24, 2007 06:36 AM

      Thanks, Judy! I sure will and if I had known that a Ben's was so near, I would never have tried an unknown.

      1. b
        budcar Feb 24, 2007 07:35 AM

        Credit to you, Goldfish, but be cautious what you order in Ben's . my son and I went to the Greenvale location for lunch. One $8.50 special stated 2 knockwurst and baked beans which is what I ordered. The resulting disappointment was that it was less than one knockwurst cut up and grilled .After your experience and persistence, I am sorry that I didn't send it back so I grudgingly ate my meal.

        2 Replies
        1. re: budcar
          c
          CornflakeGirl Feb 24, 2007 07:42 AM

          I think Judy was referring to Ben's Best, not Ben's the L.I. chain.

          1. re: CornflakeGirl
            j
            judy Feb 24, 2007 12:03 PM

            Yes, I was...this is not part of the chain of Ben's...this is Ben's Best which is no relation to the chain--I think it came before the chain, Ben Parker's son Jay now runs it.

        2. b
          bobbyrab Feb 24, 2007 09:46 AM

          Since Knish Nosh's expansion, something has happened and none to the good. I went in there a week or so ago with my brother who lives in Wyoming so that he could schlep back to Cheyenne a dozen assorted knishes (right, Cheyenne has no knish shops readily available ;) ).

          The new, expanded area was dark, some lights were on with missing bulbs and others were not on at all. No professional menus above the counter and the employees did not readily come to the front when we entered. Nothing behind the dark, dirty deli case seemed appealing at all. What a shame! My brother and I just shrugged, went to the old "knish section" adjacent and ordered the knishes, which, I am happy to report tasted pretty good -- just like the old days, albeit much more expensive. Oh, and don't read the NYC board of Health report on the place, although unfortunately, too many food establishments in Forest Hills get similar, dismal results.

          1. m
            Mike R. Feb 24, 2007 10:58 AM

            Knish Nosh is easy if you know how to focus and keep it simple.

            Get the "Special" - one knish (rec. potato, kasha, cabbage only), one knish-dog (a fantastic kosher wiener inside a knish wrapper) and soda (Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray).

            One word of advice: If you have a choice and you see lots of knishes stacked up in back of the counter, order straight off-the-rack...they won't be sitting in that front-end incubator for days, although I've gladly sacrificed heat for supreme freshness. Second piece of advice: save room for dessert next door at Andre's Hungarian Strudel shop (prune danish!).

            1. l
              LoveaFair Feb 26, 2007 04:02 AM

              Knish Nosh is a textbook lesson on how to ruin a perfectly good business.

              On the knish side of the store, the prices have gone up to an obscene level !

              On the restaurant side of the store, there is a large deli case, some tables, and an extremely inhospitable atmosphere. No menu, no price list, and no signs. You're just supposed to stand there and guess.

              The current management clearly shows a disdain for its customer, and only has its greedy eyes fixed on the customers' pockets. They have MORE than doubled the prices.

              Hopefully, they have shot their golden calf so I can figure out the knish recipe & open my own place! With Knish Nosh's arrogant attitude, I won't want for customers.

              1. Linda Feb 26, 2007 11:20 AM

                i really don't like ben's best on queens blvd in rego park. i went once and will never return again. i find it to be dirty and the food subpar. the coleslaw was not touchable, the pickles were not crunchy and didn't have a kick at all, and the sandwiches were just average.

                i really like deli king in the lake success mall in new hyde park, long island for my fix of pastrami on rye or the likes. the place is immaculate, the cole slaw & pickles are fresh and very crunchy, and i really like the salad and the dessert plate that comes with all orders. and their fresh cut fries are hot and delicious! love them.

                1. y
                  Yaxpac Feb 26, 2007 12:29 PM

                  well...you go to Knish Knosh for the Knishes, not the sandwiches...mistake #1

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Yaxpac
                    s
                    Stuartmc910 Jan 16, 2008 11:38 AM

                    DING! DING! DING! We have a winner. It's not called KNISH Knosh for nothing. Stick to the potato and kasha and you'll never go wrong!

                    1. re: Stuartmc910
                      bigjeff Jan 16, 2008 06:23 PM

                      potato is usually heavenly, the mushroom is the same as the plain, the kasha is my favorite but it has a very light flavor, the meat knish is amazing (bits of corned beef, pastrami, etc.). the foot-long wrapped dog is crazy, their chopped liver is amazing (consume that day). never felt compelled to get any of their other stuff, pre- or post-expansion, but if you stick with the above you'll be very satisfied. oh, and their cocktail franks are nice.

                      re: ben's on queens blvd; not sure if its affiliated to all the other ben's in nyc (garment district, bay terrace, etc.) but this place is really not that great. ho-hum on most of the items although, I had a great tongue sandwich there but I prefer it at katz's or the old 2nd ave deli. and Linda, agree w/ you on deli king; pretty frickin' good!

                      1. re: bigjeff
                        s
                        Shayna Madel Jan 17, 2008 09:35 AM

                        I was at Knish Nosh this past Saturday morning for the first time in a few years--last time was pre-expansion, to the best of my recollection. Prices for the knishes range from $2.50 for potato to $3.00 for meat knishes, with prices varying by the flavor of the knish. I am sure that prices have gone up over the years, but I am also sure that buying them at the source is at least 20-25% cheaper than buying them at any deli or bagel place that re-sells them. I so far have enjoyed the potato, meat, cabbage and broccoli.

                        I did not buy anything on the "expansion" side, so I cannot comment on service or taste. I suppose I might try it, but I don't think I'd make a special trip there for food other than knishes, hotdogs or some permutation of the two.

                        Service? I can't comment, except to say that the nice guy behind the knish counter told me that if I paid cash rather than by credit card (bought a dozen, some for my Mom and some to share with a sibling and her family), he would not charge me tax.

                        Ben's Best in Rego Park is unrelated to the Ben's Deli mini-chain in Manhattan, Bayside and on Long Island. The Rego Park place used to be fabulous. Really great stuff, especially sliced veal. In recent years, they have had a number of health-department related issues. I haven't eaten there in a few years, so cannot comment about quality. I like Ben's Deli, at least the Bayside, Greenvale and Woodbury locations. Aside from the deli meat, they have really good potato salad and coleslaw.

                        Glad Linda and bigjeff enjoy Deli King, but it's not one of my faves. I agree it's neat and clean, but I just don't love the taste of their food. To each his/her own.

                        DEFINITELY SAVE ROOM for Andre's next door. Not inexpensive by any means, but you will not be disappointed.

                        1. re: Shayna Madel
                          c
                          chefstu Jan 17, 2008 06:10 PM

                          I did the same thing on Sunday, 3 Kasha, 3 Potato, 2 KnishDogs.
                          Cheese and Apple Strudel from Andre's.
                          Everything was Great. Knish Nosh knishes are still the best.
                          Stuartmc910 and Shayne Madel have the right idea.

                          1. re: chefstu
                            s
                            Shayna Madel Jan 17, 2008 07:05 PM

                            Try the ruggelah from Andre's. I gotta try the knish dogs. There weren't any in the case and I did not think to ask.

                  2. financialdistrictresident Jan 16, 2008 03:07 PM

                    Is Mrs. Stahl's Knishes still around? They were my favorite. The thought of going to Yonah (LES) . . . and different Board . . . is sad.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: financialdistrictresident
                      gnocchi Jan 17, 2008 05:43 AM

                      Mrs. Stahl's is gone, 2005 or earlier. As I remember them they were only good if you ate them fresh right there. I took a few home to my mom in the car and all she could say was "what a bomb". I think it became a pizzeria and then a Subway.

                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/247546

                      http://vanishingnewyork.blogspot.com/...

                       
                      1. re: financialdistrictresident
                        b
                        bruklinboy Jan 17, 2008 09:07 AM

                        you can still get a reasonable facsimile of a mrs stahls knish at a bagel store on ave U(and Mill Ave?) in brooklyn. Just past Kings Plaza.
                        I've heard they aren't actually made there tho, but they are much better than any knish I've had anywhere else.

                        oops
                        next time I'll hit the link before I repost

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