Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I also love Gottlieb's, but let's not get crazy

Gottlieb's, the sloppy kosher restaurant that hasn't been updated since maybe churban bayis rishon, seems to have received a nice mention in: Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen by David Sax:
"The air is thick with the warm vapor of boiling chickens," he writes of Gottlieb's in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. "A gentle clamor fills the ears; the clang of cutlery, a few gulps of liquid, the sizzle of fat on a hot surface."
(One quibble: I don't think Gottlieb's is a deli. They are famous for chicken, not pastrami.)

The above excerpt was discovered in an LA Times book review that is nicely written, but thick with stupid suggestions about the origins of deli meat and the significance of the store where it was sold. A delicatessen was never "a port in the stormy world, where, long before the birth of modern Israel, a Jew could find solace" nor does our alleged love for corned beef have anything to do with the destruction of the Temple, exile or ghettos. Likewise, the shuttering of the 2nd Avenue Deli in NY and the Rascal House in Miami are tragedies, perhaps, but not quite the same as the loss of the other two Temples.

My choice for the best kosher deli? Shmulka Bernstein's, of course, with a silver medal to Gotlieb's, and a bronze to the original King David in Cedarhurst.

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