Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Deli Experience

In recent years I have cut back on deli foods (corn beef, pastrami, chopped liver, knishes with gravy and even brisket) for health reasons. So when I break down and decide to have some deli, I want the whole megellah (full experience). All of my senses should be engaged. I love the enticing aroma of garlic dill pickles, smell the hanging salamis as I walk past the meat counter. I check out all the pastries for dessert or to take home after the meal. A good deli has a hostess to seat you. She will tell you to wait whether the dining room is empty or full. No matter how busy the restaurant is, you will hear chatter. Noise is part of the deli atmosphere and so are the waiters and waitresses. My favorite waitress was named Goldie, she was like my mother , telling me what to eat and scolding me if I didn't finish it. Of course the food is paramount, it's why we're there in the first place. Great delicatessens have huge menus with everything from breakfast to dinner and dessert. Sandwiches are overstuffed served on freshly baked rye bread, pumpernickel or kaiser roles. G-d forbid you should order corn beef or pastrami on white bread with mayo from Goldie. She probably would throw you out! Deli's are not romantic settings, but sharing a Reuben sandwich and a peace of cheesecake is real love.

Canter's in L.A. on Fairfax delivers the real deli experience. So when they opened a branch here
in Las Vegas at Treasure Island I was excited. Major disappointment!!! The design is somewhere between an airport lobby and a doctor's waiting room. The whole operation is efficient and almost maintenance free. You stand in line to order from a limited menu and they give you a number. They do bring your food to you. It is served on plastic disposable plates with plastic tableware. The tables are stainless steel and some of the ceiling fixtures look like they came from a Starwars movie. The room is cold (no global warmth here). The good news is the sandwiches are good but I miss the full deli experience.


Anonymous said...

Cleveland, Ohio
Corky and Lenny's
Nuttin like it

Family of Food said...

I love Corky and Lenny's and I love Canter's in LA. The funny thing was when I first went to Canter's, I noticed that they had the same funny faux woods-scene ceiling that Corky's had. I guess it was popular for delis at one time to have that decor. I think Corky's may have been updated since then, does it still have the ceiling?

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