THE Second Avenue Deli is now on the junction of 3rd and 33rd, a Jewish temple. No, I mean a culinary library.
You will have your own ideas about old school Jewish cooking but if you don’t have a Jewish mother then this is where to go. Portions are massive – we get a small triangle of rye filled with rare roast beef that must have been the best part of a whole rib.
A huge bowl of superb minestrone which feels more moscow than modena.
There is chopped liver etc etc. And not much more than $20 a head for a tableful of food. I like restaurants that are defenders of a whole region of cooking, are informed through generations and have more interest in feeding their regulars than guidebooks or tourists. Even the language is, well new york – franks in blankets, saturday soup is yankie bean. There are blintzes, pierogens, kreplachs, knishes and kugels. Oh, I forgot these items too
They even had – and I think of this as a very Jewish trait – a black girl greeter, big wig hair in a bun, nails painted like Goya, texting on her phone between customers. It makes London’s old Blooms, if you remember that, feel like a Wimpy bar, if you remember that?
It has a back story. Uncle Abie got his first job on Coney Island as soda jerk but managed to save enough to open a 10 seater luncheonette on east tenth avenue in 1954. Thirty two years later he was murdered in the street carrying the takings to the bank. His widow Eleanor and children kept the deli going until 2006 when there was a dispute with the landlord and the original closed. Abe’s nephews Josh and Jeremy reopened on the current site, without changing the name which also leads to a rather convoluted web address.