Lament the lack of likable deli's we do too often. I lament. Like ten or more times, I am sure I can be found on chowhound lamenting the lack of deli in Chicago. I lament the lack of of a deli in the league of Rascal House, Carnegie or perhahaps even Langers. Nosher's paradises mixed with a heavy dose of schmooze. As good as Manny's is with the package, perhaps the lack of service limits the deli lure.
Us lamenters like to look at the lore of the deli instead of liking them for what they laddle up. Further, we look past the fact that deli counter can be just as likeable as the rooms of yore. Now, a lush spread of meats, breads, salads, pickles, mustards taken to go, the other night, left me entirely satisfied and lamenting a little less than before.
On Dempster leeward of el adjunct Skokie Swift, one can find dueling deli's: Kaufman's and Chaim's. Neither lacks the repetoire, yet neither possesses the landscape. Strictly take out outfits both. I left one with a load of food; then visited the other for that much more. My lips smacked all afternoon as I looked forward to my lunch-like dinner.
Go to Kaufman's if you want your store a bit cleaner, your staff primarily Russian and your pastrami proudly labeled Detroit's Sy Ginsberg. Expect to loiter over a wealth of alluring breads--how many types of rye was that, and an especially luscious onion studded pumpernickle (a GWiv fav). AnnieB lusts after the large Canadian lake superior whitefish, and I'd listen to her, they looked loaded with tasty (and healthy) lipids. Liver? Limitless supplies of chopped both chicken and beef. We loved that liver, chicken.
Chaim's looks mightily disorganized, a bit too dirty than it should, and is blessedly possesed of the CRC logo (if that matters to you). But Chaim's lends the Chicago legion's of deli lamenters some things to really like. Unlike Kaufman's, nearly everything at Chaim's location came from within that location. I for one, like the commercial level salads sold at Kaufman's, but I like even more, the house made salads at Chaim's. A big vat of cucumber-tomato "Israeli" salad well exceeded the lose of prime tomato season. Knishes? Of the lousiest listings in Chicago deli's, there nothing more lamentable than the Chicago knish. Typically bready to the extreme, a creature less like its New York breathen than anything else Chicago. Well, Chaim's sells knishes not much like those east, yet special in their own leanings. A lot more like a burek, layers of pastry instead of a few levels of dough. I do truly lament that we only bought two. Everything else we tried at Chaim's lost out to no one. OK, they did a lousy job of trimming the brisket, we paid for a load of fat we fed to the dog. That's it. The loquacious staff loaned us liberal samples of items purchased earlier at Kaufman's, so we could learn. And good looking things like hand sliced lox only made me look forward to returning to Chaim's sooner than later.
So, lament all you want if you want your deli listing east, but if you can accept letting go with store bought extravaganza (do not look up how much we spent for our spread) you will awfully like Kaufman's and even more, Chaim's. Lament no more!
I linked to a previous thread of Kaufman's.
Chaim's info is below:
4964 W. Dempster
Skokie, IL 60077