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Dec 4, 2008 02:21 PM

MSP Mort's Deli revisited

Inspired by New York's Deli’s, with a flashy interior to match, Mort’s has now introduced traditional big apple favorites to Golden Valley –which is not an easy feat. This economy is not ideal for starting any business, especially a restaurant (I mean look at how many have closed their doors in the last 2 months). But I believe that this could be satisfying a niche market and really become something special.

Located in a newly renovated stand alone building in the parking lot of an old strip mall you are sure to be pleasantly surprised by the vaulted ceilings and bright warm atmosphere.

The only thing harder to find than good deli is a good overstuffed sandwich that doesn't sell itself as "gourmet" and leave you feeling overcharged. The price was just right, considering there was no way I could consume a whole sandwich (and I would like to meet someone who can), the half sandwich is a reasonable 9.99, -which come on folks –doesn’t get much better. I had the Corned beef and Pastrami…

The proportions of meat are stupendous, thick cut, well manicured, and tender. The meat is piled high (about 3 inches) in between two slices of bread of your choice… and they have many choices. Don’t be afraid to ask the waiter to slow down and repeat those options again…. I ordered the New York Rye, which was soft and nutty however after one bite –my bread called it a day and I was left with an open faced sandwich. Not sure if they can cut the bread a bit thicker, but the meat was a bit of an overload.

This monster comes surrounded by house made chips- ideal for a sandwich of this quality. The hefty thick chips had the perfect companion as I ordered the Reuben Dip, which was just right. (ps. The dip and chips is a meal in itself).

I spoke to one of the owners very briefly as he did make it around to every table to give the good ol’ hello. They are new to the restaurant biz, and now they seem to have the swing of things, service was prompt, alert, and friendly and the kinks seemed to be smoothed out considerably. Furthermore there is a lot which is imported… Carnigies, Brooklyn, etc. nothing was spared when trying to create the owners ideal Deli.

They don’t really need to worry about food quality –they have that down. The same way they don’t have to worry about bad chef driven cuisine. What they do have to worry about is keeping things constant, and having everything in stock. With a 21 day ship period for products, supply and demand can be difficult.

Just think about it as ‘catch of the day’ sometimes they may be out of something, but that is the way the cookie crumbles for imported things. I cant tell you how often I have ordered the ‘special’ at a seafood restaurant and they did not have enough stock to accommodate me. Now I know this is not seafood, but it is refreshing to see someone take serious attention to the quality and freshness with something as mundane as sandwich meat.

I am excited to return again and again, and that doesn’t happen often.I usually have a slur of complaints, but instead i am just sitting on the couch satisfied...finally.
Next time I will order the sandwich to go, and try one of their kitchen made creations. Im thinking cabbage rolls, stroganoff, or a specialty sandwich. And their website is up and running so you can check out the menu.

Word to the restaurant: Deli sandwiches is a volatile business, everyone has a very strong viewpoint as to the perfect sandwich. So those who love the minimal ultra thin cut jimmy johns subs may not understand that they are sub-par. Just watch the service, make sure they take a deep breath… make sure the food comes out right and on time… (apps before meals, etc), and make sure no one has dry meat or bread. I think it will work out fine ☺

-Just for the foodie file, I, like most, have these terrible cravings. They sneak up on me at the oddest times…. However they usually dissipate before I can remedy them. One of these is corned beef. For those who consume this fairly regularly you know how frustrating it can be to find it and Cooking takes around 10 hours to prepare. Now I know, without a doubt I can go to Mort’s and pick up my corned beef and return home piling it high on a plain bagel with boiled buttered cabbage and brown sugar –just like dad used to make! mmmmmmm

Im hoping to hear the comments of someone else who has been their recently...

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  1. Went there today. Shared some plates with a pal. We had potato pancakes, kreplach and reuben dip with house made potato chips. We wanted a tongue sandwich, but the server explained that sourcing the product was not possible, except for prohibitively expensive meats flown in from the east coast. Everything could have used a touch more salt. The server was a bit awkward, as opposed to the very experienced servers that were helping people around us. The hit was the potato pancakes--not too much onion and nicely crispy. I thought the presentation of pickles, beets and pickled tomatoes lacked charm...all on a huge white plate. Overall, it was ok, not great.

    1. I was there recently and had a corned beef on rye. Whole sandwich. I didn't find it that big, nor very good. The corned beef seems to be taken from the packaging and then warmed. I appreciate that it's sliced by hand, but suffers from a lack of extra care in preparation or seasoning. There was no flavor, no fat or moisture at all. The rye bread was inexplicably lunchtime (11:00 on a weekday). Unconscionable.

      I might try again but I've had so many outstanding corned beef/pastrami on ryes in NYC and Milwaukee among others that I'm frankly ready to abandon the disappointment of ordering them here in town. Nobody can get it right.

      I like the concept and feel of Mort's and there are so many other promising menu items that I haven't tried. But so far, I haven't been too impressed by what I've tried.

      1. Ya lost me at thick-cut corned beef, yech. Will they slice it thin, do you know?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Enso

          It is thin compared to places like Katz's in NYC. Think 1/8 inch, not 1/2. To my eye, it's about as thin as you can slice meat cleanly by hand.

          1. re: MSPD

            By hand--they don't have a meat slicer? That sounds too thick for my taste. I find that shaved corned beef has so much more flavor.

            1. re: Enso

              They do have a meat slicer. I suppose if you asked, they would slice it on that.

              When it comes to top-quality delis, hand-slicing is the only way to go in my opinion. Most cuts of meat have a grain that should be respected. All of the best sandwiches I've ever had have been hand-sliced.

              I prefer my corned beef thicker, sliced at an angle just off the grain, with about 85-15 meat to fat ratio. I like a good ratio of outside meat to pick up on the seasoning. This can only be achieved by an carver who knows what they're doing (which is the norm at my favorite delis).

              But, in the end, the meat at Mort's, and all the other "delis" in MSP just isn't up to snuff and has no apparent seasoning, so in my mind, it wouldn't matter how they sliced it.

        2. I guess I'm not the only one disappointed by Mort's. It got clobbered by Zimmern and Platt separately in this month's MSP Mag.

          1 Reply
          1. re: MSPD

            my thoughts:

            overall, been there twice. Once I ate there, another time I got takeout. Overall, it was pretty mixed. Better than the competiton out there, but nowhere near as weel as it could be.

            - Potatoe latkes as good as I have had anywhere, definitely a must-get
            - Homemade potato chips are outstanding as well, with just the right mix of oil
            - Deli sandwiches were very good; high quality bread and nice salting on the meat.

            - Service is atrocious; both servers and take-out staff are surly and go out of their way to do nothing. even worse, they were being surly with their manager 2 feet away

            - They overpickly their pickles. Never seen anyone screw up a pickup.

            - Outside of sandwiches/deli classics, the food is spotty at best. I will return for sandwiches, latkes, but probably not.

          2. I went to Mort's today with three others and we all though the food was great. The server was great . He quickly and happily offered up a few favorites when acted, a real plus when faced with a large menu (even if they lie, I appreciate the effort). All the food was on time and the soup came out first. At the table we had pastrami on marble rye, Morts Reuben, and Mike's Kentucky hot brown (turkey on some bread with bacon and tomato served open). They were all great, but the hot brown was the clear winner in my book.

            We will definitely be going there again. It sure beats Chipotle, JJ's and everything else in a 5 mile radius.