DISCLOSURE: This meal was comped by SL Management.
Been away a while and had not seen that Canter's had opened here and was heartened to try some 'real NY-Style Deli', something I have not enjoyed in quite some time. The menu is evocative of a time when every borough of NYC fancied itself the leader of some type of deli dish, whether meat, cheese or soup.
Counter is not unknown back east and thus you can speak to the people assembling your plate, which means nothing should get lost in the translation. My first choice, chopped liver, a veritable staple of the Big Apple, has been discontinued, I was told. The counterman said locals thought it "weird." It is an acquired taste, acquired when one is knee high to whomever made it for special occasions. Thus, I was relegated to my second choice, hot pastrami, no slacker in the stuffed meat department.
The choice of sides is impressive and I settled on onion rings, a definite taboo back east, especially when traditional offerings such as potato salad are available. But why not live a little? I was asked if I wanted toasted rye and dressing on the sandwich, both of which I chose, and both of which elevated an already decadent culinary experience. The only downside was the pickle: I asked if one were included and was told, yes. What arrived was more of a cornichon, a bit larger, very flavorful but too small to satisfy an east coaster.
Customers are given small numbered tent signs for their table and the food is brought out fresh and hot. The pastrami was fairly dripping with moisture, as well as enough Russian dressing to keep things interesting. Commercial condiments adorn the table and I took advantage of the spicy, well-known mustard brand. The onion rings were obviously commercial, but crisply fried and not greasy. The portions were admirable. I ordered the smaller 6-ounce sandwich and had trouble finishing that, along with the mound of fried onion circles.
Wait service was provided by a supervisor from another SL eatery and was warm and friendly.
Human memories are tied very firmly to food, and this place makes me recall younger times with family who are no longer here. It was always special to eat out at ethnic places, and whatever the moniker, whether Kosher/Jewish/NY-Style, this is food that stands the test and taste of time.
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