It’s that time of year again — it’s time for the Forward Food Awards, where we celebrate food as an essential part of Jewish life and ask you, our readers, to pick their favorite places to fress.
The nominees were chosen by Forward staff, but the choice of winners is entirely up to our readers.
Here are the 2018 Forward Food Awards nominees for Best Deli:
Since 1888, Katz’s has been serving legendary pastrami, cured with their signature slow method, which can take up to 30 days, as opposed to commercially injected beef, which can take a mere 36 hours. And the difference in taste shows. It once served as a communal focal point for newly immigrant New York Jews who went there weekly to eat from the barrels of pickles and meat. Now…well, not a whole has changed and that’s a good thing. Ess gezunt!
Josh’s Deli might be the most the non-kosher Jewish deli ever, but at least it’s not in Japan. This Surfside Florida eatery offers dishes like Jewchachos, octopus elotes, and the Jewban, the result of an unholy alliance between Jewish and Cuban food, in the form of pastrami, pickles, cheese and pork. It might not be your traditional deli, but it’s certainly got our attention.
2nd Ave Deli
This isn’t your Bubbie’s food. It’s better. The 2nd Ave Deli has graced Gotham for more than half a century, providing some of the best Jewish fare in town. You can dine in or order as many pounds of corned beef as you want. If you’re looking for some kishke or some gribenes that’ll knock your socks off, the 2ns Ave Deli is the place to go. Plus, who doesn’t like themselves some franks-in-blanks?
Mile End Deli
Craving those Montreal style smoked meats? Looking for some homemade hotdogs with tangy sauerkraut? Desperate to polish all that off with something wacky? Maybe something like a foie gras cinnamon bun sandwich? Sounds like you need to visit the Mile End Deli. It’s your Canadian grandmother’s cooking, available in New York, lovingly prepared entirely from your scratch. There’s nothing quite like home cooking…except the Mile End Deli.
Harry & Ida’s Luncheonette
This vintage inspired spot is pleasingly retro, offering Kasha Varnishkas and Burnt Sugar Babkas. Sure, their pastrami is pitch-perfect, and its sandwich counter is a blast from the best parts of the past, but the cooked eel sandwich is what takes Harry & Ida’s to the next level. The eels are tanked and killed on premises, as fresh as eel can be, served with kale kimchee, smoked butter, maple sauce and horseradish cream for a Jewish touch. It’s deli food, smoked and served with a loving attention to detail you wouldn’t expect from a mere lunch joint. But Harry & Ida’s is no mere lunch joint.