Kenny and Zukes - Quick Report
I went there today for lunch to have the sure test, pastrami on rye. The meat was hand carved (that's good) and the portion was fair. I had a quarter of the sandwich (half of a half) and that was enough. I did not want to eat any more. Too dry, much more like corned beef with a bit of spice on the outside. The meat reminded me of what you end up with after you seriously overcooked the piece of CB you bought from Safeway for St Patty's Day.
My dear hounds this is no Langer's in LA or any of several notorious delis in NYC. I hope the place thrives, it is the best in Portland (so!), but I also hope that it improves. The pursuit of a great sandwich is no easy feat.
I had a similar reaction. Not on par with good LA or NYC delis. Chicken Matza ball soup was like dish water, bagels were small and not the right consistency, and the pastrami didnt taste like pastrami...not sure what it tasted like...smoked beef? I stood at the front door for 10 minutes before I was acknowledged..another 10 minutes after I was seated to get a waiter's attention...no condiments on the table for the sandwich, no refills for my coffee..I could go on...and on. PLEASE..if the owners are reading this..get your act together! Portland needs a good deli.
I had a similar experience. My pastrami sandwich was much more like backyard barbecue than NY deli. It had a strong smokey taste, which I attributed to "local style," but the dryness was inexcusable. NY deli sanwiches, whether from Katz's, Stage, or the departed Wolf's and 2nd Ave, all have had that moist quality that this one lacks. Guys, if you want your sandwich to be in the same league of the greats, focus on one quality -- succulence. Because right now, it's lacking.
I felt the same way about the pastrami. When you go to Katz's, and you get the sample at the counter, that stuff melts in your mouth. Kenny and Zuke's is more like smoked beef jerky in comparison!
Smokey, yes. Dry? Not my experience at all. Comparison to Langer's: gee, I ate at Langer's three days ago and the only real difference is the smokiness level. Otherwise, moisture, flavor and portion of K&Z vs. Langer's is on par.
Service is faster at Langer's, for sure. "Kim D's" opinion (repeated on another blog, I might add) is just that. My experience too is that often a whiner's "10 minutes" is more like 5, but the effect of exaggeration is so much more satisfying, isn't it?
Anyway, back to the food: couldn't disagree more on the soup--it is quite plain, however. Broth and matzoh balls, period. Flavor was great. Mushroom barley soup is even better.
Bagels? Ridiculously good. Bialys? Omigod.
Note that K&Z has been open for all of a month. I understand they have been slammed every day. Avoid it at your peril.
re: swami rabbitima
I've eaten there about six times. I was always seated within two minutes, waitron always came over in less than five. I've never had a service problem, a welcome departure from the usual PDX aloof "hipper than me" inattention.
I've had the pastrami five times. It's never been dry. Smokiness is a matter of taste, but for me it's about right. It is on par with Junior's, Langer's, Stage Deli, & Katz's.
Loved the bagels. They are chewy which is how I want them. If you want huge bagels go to Noah's.