I know where I’ll be for Shabbat dinner tonight, tasting smoked trout mousse, schmaltzed chanterelles, and kishka at the New York City Food and Wine Festival’s Mile End Shabbat Dinner.
There was a time when you could walk into a Jewish deli in practically any city in America for a sandwich on reliably soft and chewy bread with moist, salty meat and free flowing pickles. But over the last few decades too many Jewish delis have become anachronisms. They became focused on quantity over quality, relying on nostalgia to bring people to the counter, rather than deliciousness.
Luckily, a crop of fresh young chefs has begun opening delis from San Francisco to Portland to Brooklyn. These chefs are evoking mouthwatering memories with both classic and reimagined takes on old favorites using the freshest local ingredients. It is something of a deli renaissance.
This development has not gone unnoticed. The dinner tonight named after Noah Bernamoff’s Montreal-style deli in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, will feature some of the best deli chefs from around the country. Noah will be joined by Peter Levitt from Saul’s Deli in Berkeley, Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman of Wise Sons in San Francisco, and Ken Gordon from Kenny and Zuke’s in Portland, Oregon. The menu will feature non-kosher takes, such as duck confit and wild mushroom stuffed cabbage with melted leeks, p’tcha, and lamb brisket as well as a deconstructed babka dessert. Tickets are still available here. Come and sit at my table! We can schmooze over a plate of curried herring from Russ and Daughters.
Also, stick around if you can. I’ll be moderating a panel on the future of Jewish food on Saturday at ABC Home with Mile End and Tablet Magazine.