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Jan 27, 2009 11:59 AM

Birmingham — New Jewish Deli

Max's Delicatessen is in the Colonnade off 280 and 459. They opened Friday, had lunch there today.

Awesome pastrami and corned beef sammiches.

Other items include:
Mini potato knish w/ brown gravy, latke with homemade apple sauce and sour cream, BBQ salami served with housemade honey mustard, matzo ball soup, roasted beef brisket with mashed potatoes and gravy, mixed pickle plate with old and new dill pickles, The Cliff burger topped with pastrami and slaw, sauteed chicken livers and onions, hot or cold beef tongue, a variety of Reuben sammiches, Max's famous coffee cake, cheesecake and chopped liver.

Definitely going back.

It was packed at lunch today. Small wait for a table.

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  1. We picked up a menu the other night and can't wait to try it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Big Daddy

      They do breakfast too. Can't wait to try their bagels....

      1. re: Big Daddy

        EVERY restaurant/deli will open to rave reviews. Check back in six months...time will be the real test.

      2. I am SO excited about this. If I didn't have plans for dinner, I would be there tonight. Maybe tomorrow for lunch.

        Here's an article from

        Website only has number & address but I just asked them to fax me a copy of the menu.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Dax

          I stopped in to get a Reuben to go today. It was awesome with tons of chopped pastrami and the right amount of kraut, dressing and a piece of swiss. I ordered the combo for $1.99 more which was supposed to include fries and slaw. I never got the slaw. The fries are regular frozen steak fries but coated with a decent bit of dried seasoning (kind of like lawrys but better?). I'll definitely return to try the other stuff.

          They told me no breakfast/bagels yet (?) but considering it.

          1. re: Dax

            I also got a Reuben there today, but I did dine-in. Definitely the best corned beef I've had in town. I had a couple of issues with the service, though.

            I was in there after the lunch rush, so it wasn't especially crowded. Still, after I was seated I had to wait a pretty long time before anyone acknowledged me. There were plenty of staff, but it seemed like no one wanted to wait on me. In fact, given how many of them there were and how few customers, I nearly walked out. The hostess seemed confused before she seated me, so I was probably not in anyone's actual section.

            One of the owners was wandering about the whole time and seemed pretty oblivious. I guess he didn't recognize me from having gone to high school and religious school with his daughter. He was talking to one customer when I left, but for the most part he seemed pretty anti-social for an owner of a new restaurant who spends all his time in the dining room.

            Another (very) minor gripe was that the sandwich was pretty messy, and I only had the napkin that the silverware came wrapped in. There was plenty off staff around the whole time, so I could have easily flagged one down and asked for one, but I wanted to see if they would offer first.

            Most of the time I was sitting there, I was thinking about the various members of my extended family; all Jewish, all less tolerant of bad service than I, to varying degrees. I couldn't help thinking "If they want to attract Jews to this place, they better step up the service."

            I'll definitely be giving them another visit, though.

            1. re: Dax

              Ahh, sorry I forgot it was corned beef on the reuben, next time I will try the rachel.

              1. re: Dax

                A lady in the same office as I called in an order earlier in the week, waited 30 minutes, went in and her order was nowhere to be found. She waited 30 minutes on her reorder and when she got back to the office found she didn't get exactly what she ordered. Oh, well....working out the kinks....

              2. re: Dax

                Stopped in today to eat in and have a latke and pastrami sandwich. Latke was awesome, fried a dark brown though. Pastrami was good if a little underseasoned. I prefer the corned beef.

                While I was eating, I was reading a Bham Weekly and the owner came over to point out the Bye One, Get One Free corned beef coupon (takeout only).

                Bovine, I had the same napkin issue as by the end of the sandwich, I was a bit of a mess and my single napkin was destroyed. They should have dispensers on the table if using paper napkins.

            2. Went there last night (Friday the 30th) around 6:30. Fairly full place, prompt service. The food was very good - but we ate very light (were going to the movies afterwards) and our turkey sandwich and chicken salad sandwich came to $17. - no extras, water to drink. If we'd bumped the sandwiches up to getting combos and gotten any drink but water, we'd be pushing 30 bucks for two for sandwiches....

              But they *were* good!

              2 Replies
              1. re: AnnaFlannery

                I had lunch there yesterday (Saturday). I had the pastrami with an order of fries. Dax is right; the fries are just typical frozen steak fries, but the pastrami was excellent. Maybe not quite up to what is served at Katz's Deli on Manhattan's Lower East Side, but heads and shoulders above anything else in Birmingham.

                1. re: pinotboy

                  I'd attribute some of those problems mentioned above to being newly opened. Went last week with my wife and two small children and we had a great experience. They definitely seemed overwhelmed, but nothing outrageous happened.
                  My corned beef on rye was great -- small piece of bread but properly stacked meat inside. It attracted lots of older Jewish people, which I always take as a good sign. They raved about the tongue.
                  When we told the owner our son is named Max, he brought us some desserts to sample. I recommend both the chocolate cake and the poppy-seed/orange cake.

              2. I can attest that Max's is really awesome!! My wife and I went yesterday for lunch...super busy, and boy was it delicious. I had really high expectations going in b/c of this thread, and Max's lived up and exceeded them!

                The pickle plate that they brought out was amazing! I have never had pickeled green tomato before, and thought they were awesome with the ranch. We had the latke appitizer and I had the Russian Ruben (pastrami...oooh peppery and garlicy....mmmmm) and my wife had the Chicken Salad app. Everything was great, and the Rye was exceptional, and not overpowering with the rye flavor. My only complaint is that I no MUST go back b/c the Brisket sandwich with the Latke as the bread I must try! And there were quite a few other things that sounded really great too!

                Two HUGE thumbs up for Max's!!!

                2 things...the service was not perfect, but good enough, and it is not cheap, but I dont mind paying for quality...and I do have 1/2 of my sandwich in the fridge. (Monday's Lunch!)

                1. Let me put in another enthusiastic thumbs-up for Max's. We went in last night and were concerned to find an empty dining room at about 5:15, but by the time we left, the place was about 80% full on a Sunday night.

                  We tasted a number of things off the menu... the pickle platter is highly recommended... I haven't been able to find "new" pickles anywhere in Alabama, and these were great. Also the pickled tomatoes were really tasty.

                  The chopped liver was creamy and delicious, and I loved the rye bread it was served with.

                  Potato pancakes were thin and a little on the greasy side, but the flavor was spot-on and they were served appropriately, with applesauce and sour cream.

                  We ordered knishes but they were gone by the time I had a chance to try them.

                  On to the meats. We ordered a couple of the sampler platters, and chose tongue, pastrami, corned beef, brisket, turkey, and salami. All of the meats were very good, but the show-stopper was the house made turkey. It was just awesome... not dry at all and very very tasty. I could eat this every day. In fact, I am about to eat the leftovers for lunch.

                  The very friendly owner spent a good deal of time talking to us about his suppliers. He is originally from Detroit, and most of his meats come from that area.

                  I cannot recommend this place more... and try the turkey!

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Andrew in Alabama

           I have to try the turkey! :-)

                    1. re: birminghamvisitor

                      Since my original post I have been back about five times. I work right around the corner. Lox and bagel, awesome. Combo chopped liver/pastrami sammich, probably one of my new favorites. On my most recent trip I did hear on table complain their food took 40 minutes. But at another table were two native New Yorkers and they were raving about the hot pastrami.

                        1. re: Dax

                          No breakfast yet. They tried it and the owner said they just didn't have their stuff together yet.

                          FORGOT TO MENTION: Can't remember if it's in Birmingham Weekly or the Black & White (but it's in one of the free bi-weeklies) Max's has a coupon right on the first couple of pages, upper right hand corner, buy one $8 corned beef sammich, get a second one free. The coupon says "carry-out only," but the owner said he would honor it for dine-in as well. FYI. I have two.

                          1. re: SkippyLeBeef

                            It's the Birmingham Weekly. I can't believe I wrote "bye one" above instead of buy one - wow that is bad.

                            1. re: Dax

                              Since you're purchasing it to go, buy bye is appropriate.

                              1. re: Dax

                                Dax -- I've only been on chowhound for a week and every post I've created or responded to has had at least one typo (or three), wish this site had spell check, alhough in your case of "bye one" I guess this wouldn't have helped. I didn't even notice when I read the post!