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Max's Kosher Cafe - Wheaton, MD

Ever since my first job, I have had a deep love of pastrami sandwiches. So I was eager to try one at Max's, I had heard that they are great. I ordered a hot pastrami on pumpernickle bread with russian dressing and coleslaw. The meat was not hot, the bread was falling apart, looks like they gave me the stalest and thinnest slice of bread they could find. Needless to say it was quite messy, so I had to go to the restroom to clean up. This was the straw that broke the camel's back. It was the most disgusting restroom I have ever been in. I will not go into graphic details, but I REALLY hope that their kitchen is not kept the same way. I was hoping I would find a new pastrami place, but I will not go back again....anyways..does anyone know where I can get a great hot pastrami sandwich?

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  1. If you don't mind driving to Baltimore....Attman's Deli is the closest thing you'll find to REAL New York deli without going to NYC. The place has been there for about 100 years !

    4 Replies
    1. re: MDicecreamguy

      As much as I like Attman's, DC has pastrami and corned beef to equal the best. It is at the most unlikely of locations, City Deli on Bladensburg Rd., NE, just north of New York Ave. Pastrami/corned beef combo is my favorite.

      BTW, Max's is known for their exceptional felafel bar, not the meats.

      1. re: Steve

        I have been a Max's regular for several years now and never encountered a bathroom problem. Perhaps you hit the bathroom on an off day. As to the Pastrami - the only decent place in the DC area is City Deli and it is good. I agree that Max's best is a wonderful falafel bar. BTW be warned that City Deli ain't pretty.

        1. re: rcooperman

          The falafel at Max's is to die for!

    2. The schwarma also is great at Max's. I second Attman's as the best pastrami around; corned beef there is even better. I even went there after getting out of surgery at Hopkins when I could barely walk.

      Remember, just because a place is Glatt Kosher, don't assume they have great pastrami. Also, and I guess this is IMHO based on a lifetime with this food, ordering pastrami with coleslaw and Russian is not cool. Do that at Katz's in NYC and you'll be hooted. Yes, a lot of places serve it that way but a true P sandwich is on rye with mustard, and that's it. Turkey, coleslaw and Russian is OK; pastrami in same configuration is just not done.
      Max's is good for falafel and schwarma, both worth the effort to get up there. Anything else on the menu, as far as I can tell, is Kosher-style fast food.

      1 Reply
      1. re: dan f.

        They do a pretty good matzoh ball soup

      2. The ONLY pastrami worth having in DC is at Deli City. Period. The corned beef is also exceptionally juicy, fall-apart tender, and served hot. This is not some cryovac grocery deli counter slop. If there's a better reuben sandwich in DC, I'd like to know where it is. Short of smoking your own pastrami, Deli City is it. Definitely not pretty (the place used to be a gas station) but indeed chow-worthy.

        2 Replies
        1. re: monkeyrotica

          I would even go as far as saying its the only good deli in DC

          1. re: cleveland park

            Well, technically Deli City is "deli style" so if you're trying to keep it kosher, this isn't the place for you. No mazoh ball soup or knishes or half-sour pickles or pictures of Delancey Street on the walls.

            However, if you want the best corned beef and pastrami sandwich in DC, and don't really care about decor...

        2. Have read/heard about Max's for many years. When I lived in Kensington, we frequented Wheaton's restaurants all the time, but never got around to Max's. Now I live all the way on the other side of the county and almost never get to Wheaton. We had an errand over there yesterday and decided to try it. I hadn't had a falafel in many years and was looking forward to it. What a disappointment. The place is shabby and dreary. The line was long (you order and pay at one counter) then get in line and wait. The counter guys (two of them) were working hard but it was still very slow. I think there were a dozen people in line ahead of us and it took at least 20 minutes before it was our turn. We then had to go back to the original counter to pick up the sodas we had ordered. The onion rings were brought to the table a few minutes after we sat down to eat. The falafel was basically flavorless. The onion rings ditto. Meh. Feh.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Just Visiting

            I like it because of the combination of toppings which are powerful in flavor.

            1. re: Steve

              The felafel is made fresh right in front of you, and is nice and crunchy -- unlike many felafels I've been served -- but the toppings are the reason to go to Max's. Tell the counterman you want your sandwich spicy.

              The schwarma is good too, but the felafel is better. I'd never bother with anything else on the menu.