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SEA - new york deli

there has just opened in pike place market (in the economy arcade opposite the main entrance to dilaurenti's) a small place calling itself the "i love new york deli". being as desperate for shmaltz and dr. browns' celray tonic as any displaced gothamite, i am most happy to report that these folks seem to (finally!) have broken the curse against excellent new york (read:jewish) deli in seattle. the bread (what is a deli without bread?) is baked daily in the market and is the first good crusty rye bread and crunchy kaiser rolls i have encountered in the emerald city. everything else - meats, pickles, soft drinks, salads - is brought in from a supplier in brooklyn and is of first quality; the meats kept hot (microwaves are anathema) and sliced to order, the knishes (baked on site) and chopped liver (chicken, not beef) made by the owner to his mother's recipes; the pickles the color of cucumbers and loaded with garlic. sandwiches are relatively cheap considering their gigantic size and i am really looking forward to checking out the soups. welcome to seattle!

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  1. Howard, While I'm not from New York, I have visited there many times and have grown a genuine appreciation of their great deli's. (Goldberg's being a major disappointment.) This new spot sounds like a nice addition to Seattle's Chowhound scene.

    1. I'm also a NYC expat, and agree this place does a really decent pastrami sandwich. I look forward to returning for the beef tongue, corned beef, and chopped liver.

      I tried their potato knish, but I'm not wild about it. I like mine smaller, with a bit more texture to the potato - but this is purely subjective. I'll still have to check out the mushroom and kasha versions.

      1. I can's wait to eat there! Knishes!!!!!!!!!!!

        1. I walked by this place on Sunday, while taking my boyfriend around Pike Place Market. I didn't get anything, being already full and with dinner plans, but work downtown and will check it out very soon. The knishes looked very good and the menu looked promising. I also asked if they make their mushroom knishes with fresh or canned (even Yonah Schimmel's in New York uses canned, which is very disappointing), and they use fresh. I can't wait to try it!

          1. Just had a pastrami sandwich, and it was butt-kicking.

            10a - 6p

            1. I'm no knish expert, but I liked the one I got for lunch. I had a half sour pickle (they bring them in from Brooklyn), too.

              5 Replies
              1. re: christy319

                Ate lunch there this week. Found the corned beef dry but the pastrami was very good as were the knishes - yum!

                1. re: krb

                  Had the matzoh ball soup today for lunch. It was ok, the balls were sinkers and a little too dense for my tastes, the broth was pretty good. The pastrami looked good but I am a little disappointed they don't hand slice it. In any case, this looks like the best option for jewish syle deli food in seattle.

                  1. re: dagrassroots

                    Fyi, DeLaurenti sells Carnegie Deli Corned Beef and Pastrami direct from NYC.

                    1. re: landguy

                      Allegedly. I believe Carnegie has their pastrami made by Kirkland for these purposes. You can get it at Costco and while it's better than most pastrami in supermarkets, it isn't as good as Carnegie's stuff at their store and I don't think Carnegie's stuff is as good as many of their competitors' stuff.

                    2. re: dagrassroots

                      I personally, have NEVER had matzo ball soup "out" that tasted good...

                      Home made is always the best for this I think.

                2. i had the kasha knish, yummy. OOzing with filling.

                  1. Not from NYC, but I enjoy Buffalo Deli on 1st a little into Belltown.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: HungWeiLo

                      Not from NYC either, but I've also enjoyed this place. I really like the matzoh ball soup and the sandwiches I've tried have all been really good. They also carry Dr. Brown's Celray soda.

                    2. Howard, yesterday I had their special Reuben sandwich. Aside from the excellent corned beef, swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and caraway rye bread. The proprietor has added a generous dash of horseradish which made a very good sandwich into a great one. Two kosher pickle slices and potato salad came with it for $10.95. Great dining!

                      I'm also aware that they can do combo sandwiches, so I'm looking forward to a pastrami and chopped liver soon. Also a variety of knishes. Best deli food I've had outside NY.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bbqer

                        ditto on the Reuben-- juicy and messy, so good

                      2. I'm sick today, so didn't feel up to pastrami, but I had a mushroom/potato knish. Delicious! Moist, good flavor; I inhaled it. Best knish I've had in Seattle. I also had a look at his rye bread, which he'll sell you an enormous loaf of for $6. That rye bread looks like the real deal.

                        Real deli food in Seattle, how about that. Someone keep an eye on Rachel the bronze pig; she may start to fly.

                        Oh, a tip: I've never had one, but the hot dog place across the way from this deli place sells egg creams.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: seattledebs

                          It is indeed a nice light rye with caraway seed. Tasty! And the owner said they wouldn't let him do a full menu for such a small place but he'll concoct any combination sandwich you might want. I can't wait to have a pastrami and chopped liver.

                        2. Can it really be? Real German/Jewish Rye??

                          I will have to try it!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: stevedgrossman

                            Yes, and it's good. My only complaint is that I like heavily seeded rye best, and it's lightly seeded. But lightly seeded is more common for sandwiches anyway, I think.

                            By the way, I finally had the pastrami and corned beef (I like them layered together) at this place and it really was very good. Half a sandwich filled me right up, and I saved the other half for the next day's lunch.

                            1. re: stevedgrossman

                              If you want to find German rye the place to go is a Russian deli. From Russia with Love[bellevue], Bravo[aurora] or a little place by Grocery Outlet in Kirkland all buy German dough and bake the rye here. It's the closest thing in Seattle to bread we ate everyday in Prague. It's worth a little bit of a detour for the dark rye.

                            2. On yelp this deli only has 2 stars. There are only two reviews so far both both gave that rating... what is the real deal?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: natalie.warner

                                You should try it yourself. I personally liked my pastrami sandwich I had there recently; not as good as Katz's in new york or Langers in LA but still the best in Seattle I.M.O. Really its unfair for me to make comparisons to the best of the best, it would be like comparing Lark to French Laundry. Take it for what its worth, a more than decent pastrami sandwich.

                                1. re: natalie.warner

                                  Yelp is a terrible place for reviews. It's full of "drive by" reviews--people that went once, had one thing, then diss or rave about the place based only on that. This kind of message board, where there's a running conversation, is a much better venue to judge.

                                  My husband is loving everything this place has--he'd never had things like a tongue sandwich or chopped liver and pastrami but based on the guy's recommendations, he's had them, loved them, and would recommend them to anyone.

                                2. The corned beef and pastrami sandwiches are fantastic, all ingredients are imported from Brooklyn, NYC. Have to admit I'm not crazy about the knishes aside from the fried potato knish which is very authentic. I thought the crust on the other knishes was too gummy and not to my liking. Overall this is definitely a gem though IMO, I hope he expands to a real restaurant.

                                  13 Replies
                                  1. re: landguy

                                    say,would somebody be so kind as to give directions,like if one was to drive there to pick-up before work.so where would one park,off of 1st or would you better to come up from down below?being from nyc and pastrami is hard to find.the only 2 places i would eat pastrami in wa would be barneys and roxys, so im dieing to try this place out potatoe knishes,hum. thanks mic

                                    1. re: mics

                                      i think there are some 5 minute spaces on 1st between Pike and Union (west side of the street). but NY Deli might not be open before about 11am. enter the hallway between deLaurentis and the newspaper stand and it's a few stalls down on the right.

                                      1. re: barleywino

                                        Use your nose and try to smell the donuts once you found those the deli is the next stall over.

                                        1. re: barleywino

                                          sorry if i am sounding a bit like a shill but the owner has started a line of breakfast sandwiches and is fully open for business every day at 9am

                                          1. re: howard 1st

                                            Shill all you want, Howard. I love this place. The guy puts a touch of horseradish on his Reuben which makes for a fantastic sandwich!

                                            1. re: howard 1st

                                              good to know. i asked him if he could bring in some good gravlax and bagels but he said the powers that be at Pike Place mkt nixed that idea.

                                              1. re: barleywino

                                                Perhaps I'm naive about the legal or political mechanims at work in the Market, but how could someone be prohibited from selling gravlax and bagels? Last I heard, these were not controlled substances (however addictive they might be). Please enlighten me.

                                                1. re: equinoise

                                                  my understanding from talking with him was that there was some sort of non-compete agreement among the merchants in the Market...so if there is already somebody else there selling gravlax, they discourage other vendors from doing so...I guess the Sanitary Market is not a Free Market

                                                  1. re: barleywino

                                                    Thanks for the input. Such an agreement raises alot of interesting questions, for food fanatics and others. One wonders how a competing product would be defined under the agreement, e.g. does gravlax compete with lox? smoked salmon? I have to say, it does seem the Market niches have been carefully culled to avoid duplication. I'm sitting here trying to think of other poentially competing vendors and its not easy.

                                                    P.s. like terrier I miss made to order breakfast sandwiches on the cheap. I had a pre-made egg sandwich at Mel's market one day that was pretty nasty.

                                                    1. re: barleywino

                                                      But it's ok for Delaurenti to sell Carnegie Deli corned beef and pastrami no more than 10-15 feet away from him??

                                                      1. re: landguy

                                                        dunno...that's just what he told me...

                                                        1. re: barleywino

                                                          To get your ears blistered, casually ask vendors how they feel about the way the PDA does its business.

                                                2. re: howard 1st

                                                  Yes! This is something else I've missed from NYC - cheap breakfast sandwiches. $2.49 for egg, and cheese, $2.99 with pastrami? I'm there.

                                          2. Has anyone on this site been to Kenny & Zuke's new deli in Portland yet?
                                            They cure, smoke and steam their own brisket on-site. I think I like their pastrami better than Katz.

                                            Was wondering how this compared. Will check it out in a few months.

                                            11 Replies
                                            1. re: duck833

                                              K&Z is MUCH better! More flavor and smokiness in their meat.

                                              Drive to Vancouver fro Chinese Food
                                              Drive to Portland for Pastrami

                                              1. re: hhlodesign

                                                Smokiness is not something I think about when I think of pastrami...

                                                I'm looking for flavor and juicyness.

                                                Katz in NYC is probably the best example.

                                                1. re: GreenYoshi

                                                  Smokiness should be something you think about when you think of pastrami since it is a primary factor in how it is made.

                                                  Katz's is a very good version (the fatty cut), as is Langer's in LA; K&Z is better than both of them.

                                                  1. re: hhlodesign

                                                    Disagree. The smoking for a pastrami is much more for the preservative factor than for the taste factor (unlike in BBQ or something). In fact, isn't most of the smoke flavor (purposely) removed once they stick those things in water?

                                                    I will try your Kenny & Zuke's, but I'm pretty sure I will still hold Katz's Deli as the exemplar pastrami.

                                                    1. re: GreenYoshi

                                                      I was under the impression that they only kept corned beef in the brine. I've not seen pastrami in a brine once it's smoked.

                                                      1. re: Lauren

                                                        I think Green Yoshi is talking about the steaming process.

                                                        1. re: dagrassroots

                                                          both corned beef (usually made from the brisket) and pastrami (usually made from the plate [or deckle]) are brined to cure and preserve them. both are then boiled (or steamed) to fully cook them . at that point, pastrami is rubbed with additional spices and smoked for both to add flavor and to encourage some melting of fat. eating lean pastrami is like kissing your aunt through a napkin....

                                                          1. re: howard 1st

                                                            I think this is partially incorrect. I've personally never seen a recipe for pastrami, old or new, that included steaming or boiling the meat before smoking it. I'd love to see a reference if I'm wrong. I think the traditional and common manner is to cure (preferably by dry curing, but probably more commonly by brining) the meat, then smoking, then steaming until tender. The steaming process should play little part in its flavoring. It's there just to finish tenderizing the meat, melt some fat, and lubricate the sinews.

                                                            The issue, I think, arises because nearly all delis have their pastrami made for them nowadays. Even Katz's. Even Langer's. It's part of a commercial process.

                                                            Having considered this for K&Z, I know that the process usually includes chemicals (beyond curing salt) that speed up the process, resulting in a diminished cure flavor. Also, because of modern technology, the amount of smoke is much reduced since the wood or coals do not have to be used as a heat source. They are merely there to flavor the meat.

                                                            In my experience, pastrami and Montreal smoked meat have a pretty light smoke flavor in general. K&Z's pastrami has a much stronger smoke flavor than any commercial pastrami I've tasted and also a stronger cure flavor. I assume that 100 years ago, this was more common, since 100 years ago every little Jewish delicatessen would be making their own meats or having a wider variety of producers make it for them using the technology at the time: ie, true hot or cold smoking without the use of modern heat sources. I can't imagine this didn't produce a more substantial smoke flavor than is common today. But I haven't been able to find any descriptions of the flavor of pastrami from that long ago.

                                                            Personally, I don't think it's about which is "better". It seems there is room for both styles and people will like whichever they like. It's like the fat issue. Traditionally, pastrami is from a very fatty part of the cow, essentially the eye-piece of the belly, like the meatiest part of where bacon would come from on a pig. Sometimes you see rivers of fat in pastrami, sometimes it's pretty lean, even at wonderful places like Katz's. The trend is definitely towards the latter, but I've had people complain about both.

                                                            I would love to see more places making pastrami from scratch. I think it would be an easy fit for Texas BBQ joints.

                                                            PS: In case you don't know, I'm the Zuke part of Kenny & Zuke's.

                                                            1. re: extramsg

                                                              Hey Zuke! I'll be visiting PDX next month (I live in SEA) and can't wait to visit your place again. I sure hope you're not working those c-r-a-z-y hours anymore (are you?).

                                                          2. re: dagrassroots

                                                            Right - but it's not put in water again after it's smoked is it?

                                              2. Gotta say I was a bit disappointed after all of the glowing reviews. Had the pastrami on dark rye and it was more than a touch too fatty for my tastes. I'll give it another go but has anyone else found the pastrami to be fatty?

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: yoyo11

                                                  i woudl agree, the pastrami and corned beef there are fatty...that's actually why i like them ;)

                                                  1. re: yoyo11

                                                    Ya yenta :-) Good pastrami is supposed to be fatty!

                                                  2. It just depends on the brisket they are slicing at the time. They are more than willing to bring you a lean sandwich. They are going through 2,000 lbs of brisket a week, the brisket are all different, some have more fat than others. Ask and you shall receive!!!!

                                                    1. Well, I'm glad it's not just me. I do agree that a bit of fat adds flavor but this was a bit too much. I'll definitely give them another chance but I'll ask for a leaner cut and see what happens.

                                                      1. Breakfast sandwiches didn't last long, apparently. I went yesterday around 10:30 & they didn't have them though the sign said "served until 11am." (Oh well, ended up with a tongue sandwich on dark rye, which was great!)

                                                        Went back today shortly after 9am & the sign for breakfast sandwiches was gone entirely.

                                                        I'm sad now; I really could have used a pastrami & egg this morning.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: terrier

                                                          Breakfast sandwiches are back! And I finally had one this morning!

                                                          The pastrami, egg, and cheese sandwich is absolutely incredible. Much better, actually, than the breakfast sandwiches I regularly ate in NYC when I lived there owing to a much better quality roll and better meat. It's a total steal at $3.

                                                          (They'll make them with whatever meat you ask for, even though pastrami's the only one advertised.)

                                                        2. I Love New York Deli is the best!

                                                          1. Holy crap - great matzo ball soup! I have never had good MBS in a restaurant. Katz in NYC and in Canter's in LA don't put any carrots or celery in their soups - and it's always oily. But not this! Tastes just like my mom's - down to the dill floating around in the broth. AND you get two balls! Restaurants only seem to give ya one. I also splurged on a devil dog - my favorite treat when I visited my NYC relatives as a kid.

                                                            1. I'll have to agree with what a few people just said here -- I had the Pastrami yesterday -- looked more like bacon than brisket, way too much fat. Not only that, it did not have much flavor, I had it on rye with a little horseradish and some sprouts (my creation), and I couldn't really taste the meat.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: mateo21

                                                                Their pastrami is from the deckle, not the brisket. It's supposed to be fatty.

                                                                Horseradish and sprouts isn't the way I'd go with it.