Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
Oct 27, 2008 05:51 PM

Corned Beef, Pastrami, Brisket Oy Vey

I know the closest good Jewish deli is in Baltimore, if not Philly. But I still want my Corned Beef, Pastrami on Rye close at hand. Now after moaning the lack on Deli, I finally discovered the corned beef at Wagshall's on Massachusetts Ave. Outstanding subtle flavor. Nice spice. Nice sweetness. Good color. Not like you get on the LES (Lower East Side) or in the Reading Market in Philly, but very very good.

Two Questions for now:
Anyone have experience or info about prepared Pastrami or Corned Beef? Saval is quite inedible -- strong, dirty flavor. Boar's Head is good, but what about Dietz & Watson? While Wagshall's makes its own Corned Beef, they no longer make their own Pastrami but serve Dietz & Watson meat. I know nothing about Dietz.

Also am I missing that great Jewish deli somewhere. Has anyone been to Deli City? Do they make thier own meat? Parkway uses Saval. Morties uses Saval. Ely's -- Dont know but it tastes bad, must be a Kosher purveyor.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. deli city does roast their own corned beef and pastrami. their reuben is one of the five best sandwices in dc and surpasses anything you're likely to find in the area (Chutzpah included). they're "kosher style" so no rabbis ever been in the joint. relish nonetheless.

    17 Replies
    1. re: monkeyrotica

      Does Chutzpah make its own? I dont like to travel to the land of 703 unless there is a good reason.

      Have you had Wagshall's corned beef? Their pickle barrel is charming. I dont get why these folks bought Wagshall's if they are not Jewish. Their Chanukah menu is a nightmare or a funny joke.

      1. re: rmarvin437

        Not sure about Chutzpah doing their own corned beef, but I'm inclined to think not. Anyway, I wouldn't recommend hauling all the way out to Chutzpah if youre in MD. Particularly when you have Deli City right downtown. Celebrity Deli in Loehman's Plaza is in this same league: alright if you're in the neighborhood, not worth crossing the state line. Have not done Wagshalls.

        Perhaps Parkway or Woodside would be better options for you? Have not been in a while since I've been doing Deli City, but they were good when I went (a few years back), if crowded. If kosher is your primary concern, you may want to check out some of the following. Have only tried Max's in Silver Spring and only thought it was alright, not great.

        Parkway Deli & Restaurant: Phone & Order
        8317 Grubb Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20910

        Woodside Deli
        13048 Middlebrook Rd, Germantown, MD 20874

        Celebrity Delly - Deli Restaurant, Deli Caterer, New York Style Deli, Caterer
        7263 Arlington Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22042

        1. re: monkeyrotica

          There's a Celebrity Deli in Potomac. Is this another branch of the one by Loehman's?

          1. re: Dennis S

            I think the Celebrity locations were connected at one time, but have not been for years. The Celebrity Delly in Potomac is wildly inconsistent - great deli sandwiches and fish platters one day, and absolute crap the next. I live two miles away, and can't bring myself to go more than a couple of times a year.

            Parkway has always been pretty decent, but not worth driving across town for. Woodside, to me, is terrible, and my two times at Chutzpah were so extraordinarily bad, I'd order a corned beef sandwich from Subway before I'd go back there.

            Deli City serves, by far, the best CB and pastrami in the entire metro area, but the rye bread is pre-packaged and really does the meat a disservice.

            1. re: DanielK

              I've only been to the Chutzpah in Fairfax, but it has it's good points:
              just say no to a plain corned beef sandwich, but yes to pastrami.
              Or say yes to the Dagwoodian 'Fuhgeddaouddit" sandwich which adds chopped liver and many other ingredients to the meat. Chutzpah, in general, is way ahead of any other deli in the area, except for the phenomenal meats at Deli City. Celebrity Deli in Falls Church used to a pretty good place, but has now sunken down to inedible.

              1. re: Steve

                I agree that Celebrity Deli has sunken to new lows, not even sure if the waiters understand a true jewish deli concept anymore. It's a shame.

              2. re: DanielK

                I drove by Celebrity Deli at Loheman's tonight, and it looks like it may be no more. The place was totally dark.

                1. re: Henry Spencer

                  I agree. Celebrity Deli in Loehmann's is great. They have a great corned beef/pastrami sandwich. Never been dissapointed!

                2. re: DanielK

                  TOTALLY Agree. Jay and his mom do have the best CB and Ruben sandwich in the dc area. And they know it.....It is the only place in the city, where a cheese burger is $4, 2 eggs with sausage & hash browns is $5.....but their CB or Ruben is almost $8 and if you don't watch them close....they might over charge you....
                  This has happened a couple times to me where they charged me $11 for the ruben, then I ask them and it's "oh....I am sorry".....But are right....a very good sandwich..

              3. re: monkeyrotica

                I'm in the 703 and I'd second the advice not to go to Chutzpah for corned beef. It's not one of my favorite things on their menu -- it's very lean and therefore quite dry, IMHO, when on a plain corned beef sandwich.

                1. re: Bob W

                  And oddly, the CB in the corned beef hash is completely different. I really like the place, and I generally like that dish, but not that dish there.

                2. re: monkeyrotica

                  Parkway serves Saval. Nasty. Nasty. Nasty.

                  Wagshall's makes a top flight CB, but they stopped making their own Pastram.

                  Kosher is not as important as Kosher style. Please dont serve me cheese with my CB or Pastrami. Its just not right.

                  1. re: rmarvin437

                    does remind one of the Annie Hall line "pastrami on white bread with mayo"

                    1. re: rmarvin437

                      Sorry, but I can't have my Deli City reuben without melted swiss. You might as well hold the kraut or the russian dressing while you're at it. That would be like sex without love, and that's what we need more of in this world. Love. And reuben sandwiches.

                      1. re: monkeyrotica

                        Chutzpah has a good reuben too, and it comes with a big pile of their fries, which are very good while hot.

                        Another good reuben is the "irish reuben" at Murphy's in Old Town. When I was a regular at Murphy's for New England Patriots games, I would always get either the reuben or the fish and chips.

                    2. re: monkeyrotica

                      I started going to Celebrity Delly around 1992 and it was great. It has sunk to a new low, nothing like it used to be. I am very careful not to order food to go, they hide the fat and bad servings so you are surprised when you get home. Overpile slaw on the sandwiches to cut down on servings of meat. Service has also gone downhill, what else. Use to be one of my favorite places.
                      Cutzpah, ordered brisket a couple of times.......haven't been back.
                      Nothing at all these have in common with Carnegie or Stage Deli in Vegas.

                    3. re: rmarvin437

                      Actually yes, Chutzpah does make its own corned beef and pastrami on-site. However, it brings bagels, bialys and cheesecake from New York- though most don't save room for dessert. Happy Eating!

                  2. I think your best bet is Deli City. Most comparable to a good NYC Jewish style deli. Eli's is a kosher restaurant, so obviously, it is a kosher purveyor.

                    1. kind of OT, but what the heck has happened to Kosher in DC? in 2000 there was a Kosher French restaurant of all things, and now largely squat.

                      I don't observe any religious restrictions (secular through and through), but I do appreciate what the method offers. Grocery stores have become better, but delis and restaurants seem to have disappeared.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: hill food

                        I think there isn't a sufficient population to support a downtown kosher restaurant given the associated handicaps (price premiums and limited weekend hours).

                        I'm not sure what you mean by "what the method offers"-- unless you mean meat that's been salted.

                        1. re: Doh

                          just meant that Kosher is its own thing, not wildly different in flavor, but I respect it for its merits and distinction - give me a trip to Zabar's and I'm anyone's.

                          choices. for me the world is not this OR that, rather it's this AND that.

                      2. The best deli in the world is in South Florida, not LES. But better than LES is a combo pastrami/corned beef sandwich from Deli City.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Steve

                          I totally agree with you, Steve. The best (and leanest) corned beef I've ever had was at a place in DelRay Beach, Florida. I want to say that it was the Star Deli, but I'm not a 100% sure about it. Anyway, good corned beef can be found at a lot more places there. In NYC, I know just a few, and in DC even fewer (Wagshall's is one of them, but it doesn't compare to the Carnegie Deli or 2nd Avenue Deli in NYC and not the S. Florida delis either).

                        2. Brooklyn's Deli, Travilah Shopping Cenetr, N. Potomac has decent cb, not so great pastrami, ok brisket, decent rye bread, and waitress w/attitude. What Parkway use to be back in the 60s and 70s, and for those who have longer memories, Hofbergs! Note - Brooklyn's closes at 3 pm.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: nickdanger

                            I agree on Brooklyn's, though I would put their rye bread up in the "great" category.

                            The best CB sandwich in the DC area is made by getting meat from Deli City, and driving up to Brooklyn's to put it on their rye!

                            1. re: DanielK

                              Actually downtown Kosher is not so bad. Ely's is still there if you insist on Kosher tuna and bad CB. There is a cafe at the DC JCC.
                              Also Brookville in Cleveland Park now carries Kosher meats.

                              1. re: DanielK

                                Based on the glowing reports, my wife and I tried Deli City today. Now, I'm from rural Minnesota, so it's not like I have deli in my blood, but I've eaten my share of pastrami and corned beef. Deli City has the best I've had in this area, without question. Tender, moist, flavorful meat. Much better than Parkway or Chutzpah, Mel's or Jack's Famous.

                                The pickles were okay, but sort of the Claussen's type rather than Ba-Tampte. But I nitpick--the sandwiches were excellent.

                                I wish they had matzoh ball soup, though.

                                Thanks for the tip.

                              2. re: nickdanger

                                Brooklyn's deli makes their own corned beef and pastrami according to the chef. I wasn't so impressed. It was okay. But I was really impressed with their smoked fish. Very good.