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Sep 30, 2012 05:25 PM

Schmooze Deli - Jenkintown

Anyone been to the new Schmooze in Jenkintown? It's another Jewish deli where Murray's used to be.

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  1. Is this near Whole Foods? If so,I'd love to know how it is. We always strike out with delis. But I do have to suggest when you really want the most incredible smoked fish, order online at Russ and Daughters. Really the best I've ever had. They deliver Fed ex overnight and it is so worth it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: DaisyM

      Daisy, I have had Russ & Daughters in NYC and it is excellent. While the selection is much smaller, Famous 4th St Deli (original location) carries very high quality nova, whitefish and some other fishes too. It's not Russ & Daughters but for the basics it is just as good (though some will quibble that they machine slice instead of hand slice the salmon). The whole whitefish I bought at Russ was identical to Famous and Famous gets very good cuts of nova, the mackerel is very good as well.

      1. re: barryg

        Barry, for break the fast this year, I ordered everything from Russ and Daughters. It was sent by fexed overnight and everything was wrapped and packaged perfectly. Most of all, my husband thought I was a genius. I think their whitfish salad with salmon is the best I've ever had. Even the babka was great. Alll I had to do was make coffee and slice some vegetables.

    2. Checked it out tonight. Wouldn't recommend it for deli food like corned beef and pastrami (cut way too thin), and the nova, while Acme brand (same as Russ & Daughters etc) did not look like a great cut. For for reasonably priced breakfast and sandwiches though, it is worth trying. Burgers and jumbo hot dog were good, matzo ball soup solid. The menu is huge, I'd treat it more like a diner and less like a Jewish deli.

      7 Replies
      1. re: barryg

        Why not ask for thicker cuts? Or was the quality of the deli meats and lox not up to par? FWIW, I heard they were spending more to get the best quality meats and fish.

        1. re: george2

          It is definitely apparent that they are going for quality in general. Pickles were good, Vienna beef hot dogs, bagels from New York. Could ask for thicker cuts I guess. They make the corned beef in house, I didn't try it but was reported as bland. In general things were undersalted, typical for Jewish delis and diners around here, which is fine by me for most things (had to add salt to soup and fries) but undersalted is not good for corned beef. Pastrami might be good cut thicker but not a good sign that it is cut so thin to begin with IMO. Nova in the case looked noticeably less marbled than Famous, Russ & Daughter etc but we didn't try it. I'm sure it is good and better than many other places, just comparing to the best. Speaking of the fries, they were very obviously frozen and not particularly good.

          Not trying to knock the place, most Jewish delis around here are a disaster and this was not--based on one visit. Quality/price ratio was ahead of most places I have been in the Jenkintown area and I plan to return.

          For comparison purposes I am not a fan of West Ave Grill; the deli stuff is just bad, breakfast mediocre, and the dinner plates very overpriced IMO. Glad to have this as an option for a casual meal.

          1. re: barryg

            Sounds like they're on the right track but still have a way to go. Correct use of salt during the cooking process is an art and corned beef should never be bland. Never, ever, but if you didn't try it yourself... Using Carnegie and Katz's as benchmarks, I wouldn't call Philly/Bucks/Montco deli's disasters, but they could use some NYC Jewish soul. Frozen fries have the potential to be adequate, but fresh cut twice fried isn't that difficult for excellent results. And I agree the WAG pretty much sucks.

            The owners of Schmooze should read this thread and if they're as ambitious as they appear, will make the proper adjustments along the way.

            1. re: george2

              The other point that should be made is about price. Compare them with either Ben and Irvs, or Pumpernicks and you will find most of their sandwiches are 2-3 dollars more expensive. Don't know what rents are like in Jenkintown but I do not think the prices are competitive with comparable delis.

              Also.. they don't even serve tongue. What's with that?

              1. re: cwdonald

                The prices are competitive for the Jenkintown area, best that I can tell.

                I also noticed they don't serve tongue. Goes back to my original point, I liked it more as a diner than a real Jewish deli.

                1. re: cwdonald

                  We feel that the quality is better! At least if you consider the Brisket.

            2. re: george2

              Sounds to me like the corned beef and pastrami are both a fail.
              The fact they are _able_ to cut it very thin is a red flag right there. LOL

          2. Ate there with a group last night. Good service, fine food. My take: I wouldn't go out of my way to get to Schmooze, but it is a good addition to the area. Everything seemed fresh and prepared with care. Pancakes looked great and, from the bite I had, were. Chopped salad was big and fresh, with good ingredients. Matzo ball soup was good (I'm picky about matzo balls and these were decent, which is better than I usually expect). One person had the black bean burger and liked it. I agree that the pastrami was weak. I had a taste and, while my husband liked his as prepared in a reuben, we all agreed it was fairly dry, lacking a good smoke flavor or spice.

            All in all, though, I'd go back if looking for somewhere quick and casual in the Jenkintown area.

            1. I've only been to Schmooze once (for dinner), but I'll definitely be going back. I had a fish entree with a tomatoey "provencal" sauce, and while not authentically anything, it was a really tasty fish dish. The borscht a companion had was also very tasty. The food seems unusually fresh (for a deli) and was well prepared, and the owner went out of her way to be friendly. My only complaint was that service was a little slow, but I chalked that up to newly opened restaurant snafus.

              I agree, it's no Pumpernick's, but it's much better than most other places near Jenkintown. I live in Glenside, and it's so nice to have someplace other than Pho and Beyond to go to when I want to eat out close to home.

              1. Was there last week. Very much like a New York deli including the prices. But you do get what you pay for. We shared a Corned Beef Special as it truly is very LARGE.
                If you can't drive to Harolds ( in Edison, NJ or Famous Deli in South Philly, than it's worth it. We will return!