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Best Jewish style deli in Houston?

I remember back in the early 70's when we moved to Houston, my parents and I went to a place called Alfred's. It was reminiscent of the Jewish Delis we used to eat at in Chicago. Of course that is long gone, now. So what are some of your favorites? I specifically am looking for the best hot corned beef on rye!

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  1. Alfred's son Mike Kahn operates Kahn's in the Village, right across the street from the original Alfred's. Much smaller menu - mostly the sandwiches.


    Kenny and Ziggy's on Post Oak in the Galleria area is another. Tends to be much pricier, but also very good.

    At Kahn's, you get a kosher pickle spear with a sandwich, at K&Z, you get a bowl of half-sours. Yum! It helps make up for the price difference. I'm sure K&Z has a website too.

    19 Replies
    1. re: brucesw

      i agree kenny and ziggy is the best ive been to and im in love with the noodle kugel. its a real deli. they even have fresh baked halva from Phoecia Deli by West oaks mall. another place you might want to check out for shopping.

      1. re: brucesw

        Had to go to the Village today (what a traffic mess) and the place we went to was around the corner from Kahn's. We went there, but my picky DH didn't see anything he wanted, but it didn't stop me. I had a hot corned beef on rye with muenster cheese and mustard! WOW! So very good! I have had corned beef at every establishment that offers it, except K & Z, haven't tried that yet, but this was the best ever! The owner (Mike?) asked if I wanted it with swiss cheese, and I said I had heard it was really good with muenster - he said "Good choice." The cheese was mixed into the meat and OMG! And this was a really HOT sandwich, not just shocked by the microwave. Gee. I wish I lived closer to that area.

        1. re: danhole

          I'm smiling because in NYC, no one would ever serve cheese of any kind on a corned beef or pastrami sandwich. Sounds tasty, but it would never happen :-}

          1. re: Tay

            Yeah, I know that, and I would have never thought to myself, but my DD's BF recommended it and I thought what the heck! I do not think I will do that again because I love the corned beef flavor, too much, but it was worth a shot. Plus the fact that they mixed it with the meat, it was more interesting than, let's say, a cheeseburger!

            1. re: danhole

              You cute l'il Houstonians lolol!
              It sounds as though it would be tasty,but maybe a little overwhelming. Here, it's the meat, the bread and the mustard...
              Of course, in kosher places, cheese isn't even an option....

            2. re: Tay

              I've had many deli sandwiches in Philly and NYC, always with cheese.

              1. re: webmeist

                Me, too. And a Reuben is basically a deli corned-beef sandwich, with meat and cheese.

                It's been my experience that the cheese is always there and available for customers that want it - be they gentiles or Jews that don't keep kosher.

                1. re: Jaymes

                  Y'all know you're replying to a five year old thread, right?

                  And while I agree that, for ME, a corned beef or pastrami sandwich will usually carry a slice of swiss, provolone or muenster, I doubt they started out that way.

                  However, unlike the intractables on the Chili With/Out Beans thread, I'm merely going to smile indulgently and let you eat your sandwich like you like it, and toss the rules and regs out the pass-through window.

                  Hmmmmm.....I think I'm going to try to finagle K&Z's for lunch. (Keep a slice of swiss for me Mr. Gruber!)

                  1. re: DoobieWah

                    This may be an old thread but thanks for sticking up for me about the cheese. I do know what a "traditional" corned beef sandwich is but sometimes you just want some cheese to add to it. I do love my cheese :)

                    1. re: danhole

                      Hi Dani. My name's DoobieWah. NIce to meet you.

                      You're kind of famous around here but haven't posted in a looooong time. A year before I joined in fact.

                      I would say, "Welcome back", but this is sorta YOUR board I think, so it feels a bit presumptuous.

                      I look forward to more of your new posts.

                      1. re: danhole

                        I love this! Just pick up and carry on the conversation!

                        1. re: Lambowner

                          Dani? Wow. Haven't heard from you in soooo long. Even emailed you for a meet-up, but it came back. And then, I figured when you didn't chime in about Pearson's closing, there was definitely something wrong.

                          Good to see your name around here again.

                          And, about the cheese... It seems to me that Jews can eat cheese, just not with meat. So it's there and available for those that want it.

                        2. re: danhole

                          Dani - what a pleasant surprise to receive your note and see you have posted here. You have been much missed.

                          1. re: brucesw

                            First Doob's whining about a five year old thread and beans in chili, then I see a danhole post, has to be old, but double take and, danhole 8 hours ago. I'm going to do something I never do and go all caps. WELCOME BACK DANI. By the way Dani, where do you stand on beans in Texas chili?

                            1. re: James Cristinian

                              No beans! And thanks all for the welcome back!

                              1. re: James Cristinian

                                Whining? Really?

                                Look, dude, I will continue to occasionally cook my chili with beans and I will still call it "chili". There is nothing you, or anyone else, can say that will change that. That's not "whining", it's just the world you live in.

                                You may as well let it go.

                                1. re: DoobieWah

                                  But then where would be the fun in that?

                                  1. re: Lambowner

                                    Doobs, I was being a joker, a bad one maybe. It was the celebration of the return of Dani, and I offer an olive branch and a bean sprout.

              2. I remember an Alfred's on Stella Link ... are we talking about the same one?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Cheflambo

                  Yes. The original was in the Village in 1948. There was also one in Town and Country Village and the one on Stella Link. Mike's place in the Village has pictures lining the walls, mostly of the Village location. Alfred's was quite an institution for about 4 decades.

                  Re: the OP: I think somewhere on Kahn's website it says their purveyor is from Chicago; K&Z claims to be an authentic NYC type deli.

                2. Thanks! I am going to Kahn's! I loved Alfred's, so this is the best bet.

                  BTW - thanks for not suggesting Katz's - I do NOT like that place at all.

                  1. There really are not too many choices in Houston, but Kenny and Ziggy's is probably your best bet. Food is quite good, service is a bit gruff (which is very authentic) and the free pickles are delicious. I am not a big fan of Khan's It is really more of a funky sandwich shop than a real deli. And I absolutely agree with you about Katz's - it is nothing special.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: vergilius

                      While I'm not a big fan of deli, NY Bagels & Coffee (on Hillcroft just south of Braeswood) will have better and cheaper food than Kenny & Ziggy's, even if there's a smaller selection and the menu names are less clever. The atmosphere is also much more inviting, more Meyerland than Uptown if you know what I mean. The bagels are amazing, cooked right next door at the (supervised) kosher bakery section of the restaurant, although I think Kenny & Ziggy's might also buy their bagels there.

                      1. re: wujon

                        Thanks for the tip wujon. I must've driven by a block away on S. Braeswood a thousand times and I knew there was a bagel shop there but didn't realize there was a cafe. I'd call it a neighborhood cafe or coffee shop rather than a deli. I'm not a strict purist on reubens and lots of places use Thousand Island dressing in place of Russian dressing but I found the Newman's Own to be too bold for the sandwich; the deli mustard that also accompanied the sandwich was very good, though. Meat was a little dry but I appreciate that size sandwich rather than the huge servings at Kahn's and K&Z's. There were other things on the menu that looked worth trying. This may become a favorite neighborhood cafe for me.

                        Oh, and the bagels next door! Kicking myself for never trying them before. Probably the best bagels I've ever had.

                        1. re: brucesw

                          K & Z was built in immitation of the well known NY delis such as Stage Door and 2nd Ave Deli, but is, so to speak, pre-fab shticky right down to the ersatz "signed" celebraty portraits, while much more clean and modern looking than its authentic NY counterparts. It is as fake as a 3 dollar bill while the food is ok for the most part, although I have had kishke as bad as their's only at Katz's, and I'm not convinced that the chicken soup is not from a powder). It never had the chance to develop a unique personaality, as did the New York Coffee Shop, which has been evolving for about 25 or more years now. NY Coffee Shop is an authentic neighborhood place serving decent food at rockbottom prices and, unlike K & Z, is not a tourist destination. I am sorry that Alferd's bit the dust around 10 years ago, as it was also "authentic" in a northeastern sort of way, with great personality and charm (due to Alferd himself. The heirs tried, but could not succeed in continuing the business after his death, probably due to their ineptitude). His son's (Khan's) is just a sandwich shop, albeit a very good one.

                          1. re: brucesw

                            I tried New York Bagel & Coffee Shop for the first time this past weekend. What an experience! (and I mean that in a positive way). It is like entering both a time warp and a geographic warp at the same time. It feels like what I would imagine a Queens deli/diner from the '70's to be like.

                            The food was very good, as was the service (even though it was packed and the waitresses were running around). It seemed much more authentic than Kenny & Ziggy's. We were there for breakfast, and I definitely plan to go back again soon for lunch. It had all your basic breakfast foods - eggs, bagels (with lox of course, if desired), pancakes and similar items, as well as things like whitefish salad, pickled herring, salami omelet (which I ordered for the heck of it, and enjoyed), etc. Prices are very modest. And of course, the bagels were delcious.

                            1. re: vergilius

                              I had the smoked whitefish salad (really a paste) sandwich on one of my visits -- very good. Never had that before. It was plain on bread, no condiments. I wondered if that was the usual - I suppose you wouldn't want a bold, deli mustard on it.

                              You can buy the prepared salad across the bayou at Belden's or buy the smoked whitefish to make the salad yourself. The fish are also available at Phoenicia (at a much better price); I'm going to try to make some of this someday. I think I could consume mass quantities very easily.

                              1. re: brucesw

                                Exactly where is this place and what are the hours? And what all is on the menu? Thanks.

                                1. re: danhole

                                  It is in a very nondescript strip shopping center located on Hillcroft at South Braeswood - 9724 Hillcroft St.

                                  If you do go, make sure to go to the Russian General Store in the shopping center on the other side of Hillcroft - 9629 Hillcroft St. Lot's of interesting imported items from Russia and Eastern Europe. I love the pickles that they make themselves, as well as the breads, jams, dried fruits and Lithuanian beer (Svyturys), among other things.

                                  1. re: vergilius

                                    Do you know what the hours are? I can't seem to find that anywhere. I would have to go on a weekend. It's not in my neck of the woods, so that means I would have to take the DH and need to be sure there will be something he would eat!

                                    1. re: danhole

                                      I don't think they had a menu to go but as I recall, the coffee shop closes at 6pm; the bagel shop next door closes by mid-afternoon. not sure about weekend hours.

                                      1. re: brucesw

                                        Had lunch at NY Bagel & Coffee shop on Saturday with my Jewish DH. He pronounced the whitefish salad plate "quite good" and my grilled reuben was great. We bought a half dozen bagels on the way out and had another great breakfast the next day. I may go back again soon to try the chopped liver.

                                2. re: brucesw

                                  bruce, when you make it out to manhattan, you have to try the super heeb sandwich @ russ & daughters on houston a couple short blocks from katz's. on my last visit, my SO and i split one of them on our walk over to katz's.

                                  it is heavenly. it's a fresh sliced bagel schmeared with horseradish cream cheese, wasabi flying fish roe, and whitefish salad.



                                  i look forward to trying NY Bagel's version but i'm never in that neighborhood so i'll have to make a special trip. thanks for the post.

                        2. Would any of them also have a Kosher bakery that makes sufganiyah during Hanukkah?

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: mialebven

                            I would check with Three Brothers on S. Braeswood @ Stella Link or the Kroger Signature store on West Bellfort @ S. Post Oak.

                            This resource may help, also:


                            1. re: brucesw

                              Thanks Bruce! Excellent list! I believe Hanukkah next year falls closely around Christmas, so I'll definitely be on the lookout for sufganiyah in Houston! In case if you're wondering what it tastes like, a good one tastes like a beignet, but even better - with strawberry preserve filling! A not-so-good one tastes more like a filled doughnut.

                              1. re: mialebven

                                I am not familiar with the treat but would love to make the acquaintance based on your description. It's your chowhound responsibility to let us know if you find them!

                                1. re: brucesw

                                  I will do, but unfortunately it would have to wait until next year - and it's frustrating even for me since I'm not even Jewish! I could eat that stuff anytime, but since it's a Hanukkah specialty, they stop making them when it ends (and it ended I believe on the 8th or the 10th of this month).... But believe me, I would join the chowhound hunt for good sufganiyah next year when I'm in town!

                            2. re: mialebven

                              I had forgotten about this - I came across one of these a couple of years ago at Saba's Kosher Cafe, and it wasn't around Hanukkah as I recall. I have never seen one at 3 Brothers but I can seldom get past the hammantaschen (Sp?).

                              1. re: mialebven

                                I believe the poster who asked this question is long gone but I came across the following article in the Chron today and remembered the thread. It seems 3 Bros is bringing them back for the time being - I've got to get me some - and some hamantasch, too.


                                And the idea of donuts from 3 Brothers is intriguing, too, they do such great breads and rolls.

                              2. Alfred's on Stella Link was absolutely wonderful. Choice meats, wonderful cheese's (yes, I know that isn't Kosher). I'd go to "Kahn's", Alfred's son. And while the chowhound moderators apparently won't let me respond any further, I'll end with that. Except to say that I expect this post to be deleted, as quickly as they deleted my earlier post.

                                1. My folks operated a deli/hot dog place on Richmond in the mid-to-late 1980's, serving Sabrett hot dogs, excellent corned beef and pastrami, and gabila's knishes. It was good, but relatively short lived.
                                  No cheese. My Dad had a sign on the wall that said, "no chili, no cheese, no mayo. This isn't Burger King. You'll have it my way. . ."

                                  My favorite Houston deli story was when I went over to the Rice Supermarket in Meyerland in the early 80's, and the guy behind the deli counter looked familiar. There was a salad in the case that was labeled, "Claremont Salad." I said, loud enough to be heard, "From the Claremont Diner!" and the deli guy replied, "Yeah. and I was your deli man there, before it closed!" And so he was. That's where I remembered him from.

                                  I miss the Claremont Diner. Anyone on the Board have any memories of the late, lamented Claremont, in Verona?

                                  1. Katz's doesn't feel like a NY deli - more like a NY Bennigans', but they have GREAT pastrami! It was a surprise, but happy one. The staff is not up on traditional deli food, but are very nice. They make an overstuffed sandwich, but the bread is half the size of a normal loaf. Pretty silly if you ask me. The best thing is Katz's Never Kloses!

                                    Kenny and Ziggy has more of the feel of a NY diner than a deli, but they have great appetizing! The rotating dessert display is pure Dinuh, and the desserts in them are great. Deli is good, but not great.

                                    NY Bagel shop feels like a NY luncheonette. I go there for their lox,eggs and onions. The day they stopped selling egg creams I cried.

                                    I think all of those places will make you a good corned beef sandwich.
                                    I don't know if Kahn's in the Village is still there. That place felt more like a little place in Penn Station you go into to catch a bite before you jump on the train. With more sunlight.

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: Mindy613

                                      kahn's is still there. i had a hot pastrami sandwich for lunch there today. mike is a hoot!

                                      1. re: neverfull

                                        I'm so happy to discover Mike Kahn is following in his dad's footsteps. In 1969, at 19 years old I came to Houston and Alfred hired me to work at his deli. He would say "Steve, there are two ways to prepare a sandwich, my way and the wrong way." He had a friend (or family member from Keil, Germany who made the most wonderful hot German potato salad. I would knock the ring off the wooden pickle barrel to get the Kosher half-dones. I'm going to find Kahn's today and have one of this sandwiches.

                                        1. re: Meatcutter

                                          Kahn's has changed hands a couple of times now since this thread was started. First owners after Mike apparently really screwed it up, haven't heard much about the new owners. Haven't been since Mike sold. Nobody made the sandwiches like Mike, not even his employees.

                                          1. re: brucesw

                                            That's sad to hear. My first job in Houston (during college) was at Kahn's. Mike's an incredible guy, and his sandwiches were terrific!

                                            1. re: tadhg555

                                              Care to offer some tips and pointers? My sandwich making skills could use some help.

                                              1. re: brucesw

                                                Alas, I was but a lowly stockboy/dishwasher. Took the gig for the free food and good conversation.

                                                1. re: tadhg555

                                                  Whoever bought Kahns didt wait even one minute to ruin it. The corned beef tasted processed from a plastic package. The machine that Kahns had used to run the sandwiches through was gone. I havent been in a couple of years. maybe new owners have fixed it--i dont know

                                                  Recently revisited Katz in Montrose for the first time in ten years..still no reason to go there

                                                  Try Leibmans on Memorial iut by Dairy Ashford a South Africsn Deli and I believe their owners are Jewish. The best around Houston but still just a 6-7 out of 10 compared to true Ny deli corned beef

                                            2. re: brucesw

                                              I'm originally from NY and when I moved to Houston I had a craving for Pastrami. Went there with a Google Offer last year...thought the place was terrible and I couldn't even use the coupon...so I went back a week later just to get it used and gone and couldn't use it again. Never went back, didn't even care about the money I wasted on the offer as the two sandwiches were pretty lame. Pretty sure it was just Boars Head pastrami. My girlfriends turkey sandwich was mildly better kinda.

                                              Katz's isn't the Katz's I call Katz's(Lower East Side of NY) and I thought was a step or two bellow Kenny and Ziggy's which isn't bad but nothing to write home about.

                                              1. re: tarnis

                                                Sad to hear about an old Houston institution having gone so far downhill but you comments echo everything else I've heard. I haven't been in years, ever since I heard Mike Kahn retired.

                                                It is well known here that the local Katz's has no connection to the NYC institution. The two here are owned by the son of a man who started one in Austin 30 years ago. He was a car salesman before getting into the restaurant business; I don't remember if his name was even Katz or if he just ripped off the name. The Austin place is long shuttered I think but the son's restaurants have proved to have more staying power.

                                      2. After Alfred's closed there was not a quality Jewish/NY style deli for quite a time. When Gugenheims opened up I was in Deli heaven. If I remember correctly they boiled their corned beef and steamed their pastrami and I was never disappointed. And their blintzes were to die for.

                                        I was a staple there for years and was there the day they closed (their landlord would not renew their lease).

                                        I finally went over to Kenny and Ziggy's and was SOOO disappointed. While they hired a lot of the servers it never seemed to live up to everything people talked about. Have been back quite a few times through the years and still do not see why it is so busy.

                                        Wish they would bring Gugenheims back.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: rondl

                                          If you are a do it yourself'er. Central Market has Carnigie Deli Pastrami and Corned Beef.