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Feb 18, 2011 04:38 AM

NY-style chopped liver with schmaltz?

Anyone know of a good Jewish deli in the area serving chopped chicken liver with all the trimmings, the way it's served in NY delis -- with hot schmaltz and gribenes?

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  1. My favorite copped liver is Arthur's in Chelsea, but I haven't seen gribenes there (the chef is happy to chat about her food, so ask if you go there) -- you could get chicarron de pollo (not quite the same thing) nearby at Bella Isla on 2nd street or Izzy s in Cambridge.

    Bella Isla Cafe
    220 2nd St, Chelsea, MA 02150

    2 Replies
    1. re: itaunas

      Thanks, I was ideally hoping to find something in the Cambridge/Somerville area; I love Spanish-style chicken livers, but it's the authentic Jewish style I'm seeking out.

      1. re: Boston_Otter

        Boston_Otter are you driving or T and what part of Cambridge/Somerville. Right there the only option is the S&S which I just don't bother going to (and you could get to Arthurs, eat, and get back before you park and get seated at the S&S on a Saturday). From East Somerville/Cambridge you can get to Arthur's driving more quickly than Brookline. (And it is a quick ride on the commuter rail, but you are dependent on train schedule). Kupel's is the most convenient in Brookline and I used to like their chopped liver, but it wasn't good last time I went, I think you should probably go to Michael's. (At one point Kupel's bagels and some items were available at the MIT Student Center, but I have no idea if they are still or if the chopped liver would be there.) In any case the owner/cook at Arthur's makes the chopped liver herself and unlike other delis they let you specify how you want corned beef, but I have never seen them serve it with gribenes. I wasn't suggesting liver from a caribbean restaurant, but rather a dish which is features crunchy chicken skin (it can be only the skin, but most places serve it with meat like from the thigh cut in small places). In any case Izzy's does a nice job on this (in my opinion much better chicarron de pollo than chicarron de cerdo).

        Izzy's Restaurant
        72 Spring St, New Bedford, MA 02740

    2. I've been enjoying the chopped liver they sell at Russo's Market in Watertown. Although I can't vouch for its similarity to versions served in NY delis, it certainly does the trick for me.

      1. Where in NYC do they serve chopped liver that way?

        16 Replies
        1. re: StriperGuy

          I don't recall how schmaltzy the chopped liver is, but Second Avenue (Kosher) Deli has a complimentary bowl of gribenes on every table.

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            Gribenes to nibble on is a nice touch. Hot schmaltz feels a tad gimmicky and untraditional to me.

            1. re: StriperGuy

              Being of midwestern German/Irish stock, my exposure to Jewish deli food began when I made it out to the East Coast; I'd heard of delis in NYC doing their livers with gribenes and hot schmaltz, and calling it "grandma's style" or whatever -- if that's just a gimmick for tourists, I'll avoid it, and just go where the good livers are, schmaltz or no schmaltz :)

          2. re: StriperGuy

            I've seen it at the Brooklyn Diner in Manhattan, for one.

            1. re: StriperGuy

              Sammy's Roumanian too. But I would NEVER recommend that place ... talk about kitschy. And waaaaay overpriced. However, they do bring a pitcher of schmaltz for your liver.

              1. re: yumyum

                Yah, I knew they did the pitcher of smaltz at Sammy's, but Sammy's is not really about authentic ANYTHING, it's just kitchy nonsense.

              2. re: StriperGuy

                The Carnegie Deli makes a great liver. They top off the quarts with schmaltz and you mix it up at home. Of course Sammy's Rumanian does it at the table with coarse pepper and salt, gribenes and shredded black radish with a side of borscht-belt antics. At the Rumanian, on Chelsea just below Houston, a diner style syrup bottle of golden liquid chicken fat is a condiment on every table. (An ambulance with he engine running is a fixture at this elephant graveyard for old Jewish guys.) Round here, in a pinch Barry's Deli in Waban has pretty good deli for these parts of slim picklings. Fresser's in Randolph is doing important work for Greater Boston. All of this stuff still lives on Avenue J in Brooklyn. Same as it ever was...pass the petchah please.

                1. re: EATTV

                  Barry's Deli is an overpriced joke. I've lived in both cities for over a decade each. Nothing compares to NY in terms of deli.

                  Barry's Deli
                  21 Beale St, Quincy, MA 02170

                  1. re: ucallthatcb

                    Can't really argue. Montreal and Paris have it. Reins is a disney-esque version. Good corn beef is a calling. Second Avenue is still all that but sadly Katz's is not what it once was. Maybe I need to learn to make my own corned beef and pastrami? If I could only bake a decent rye.

                  2. re: EATTV

                    Smaltz is just not a condiment. A good ingredient in chopped liver YES.

                    Even serving it 30 years ago it is more gimmick then anything any self-respecting grandmother would ever serve at the table.

                    Honestly, it's just silly.

                    That said, I WILL take a triple order of the gribenes. Mein gutenyeh (My god) I haven't had gribenes since I was a kid.

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      Schmaltz and grieven (my mom's word) made with onion were in my mom's chopped liver (oh how I miss it). And ARE still integral to her matzo balls & potato kugel.

                      Since I'm doing my own Seder this year, does anyone know anywhere I can buy 1) premade schmaltz & greiven/gribenes with onions (preferred)? or 2) a tub of raw (ideally kosher) chicken fat to make my own? Thanks!

                        1. re: quirkydeb

                          In case anyone is looking, the Butcherie has small containers of schmaltz already rendered. It has dehydrated onions and BHT in it. I decided to just buy thighs and make my own so I could put the onions in and get some grieven chunks.