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East Coast West Delicatessen

Andrew Raskin | Aug 2, 200105:36 PM

So I'm walking along Polk St to catch the 1 bus at California (my car is still in the shop), when my chow-antennae begin delivering rapid pulses to my brain saying, "stop. turn left. enter." I looked up, and I was standing in front of East Coast West Delicatessen (1725 Polk/California), a new Jewish deli that had opened its doors for business exactly one hour earlier.

I figured I'd judge the place on their knish and go back if that was good. I placed an order with Robbie, who seemed like the owner. He gave me a knish, but I was surprised that it was so small for $2.50. Sure enough, as I waited to pay, Robbie came over and plunked another knish in my hand. "Sorry, today's our first day and the chef made em too small," he said.

I ordered potato knish, but I got meat instead. Any complaints over the mixup vanished when I tasted this knish. It was round, first of all, and the skin is relatively thin. Inside, it was a whole mashed up flanken thing, with all the vegetables/spices that it cooks in. This is a very good knish. I dare say one of the best I've had, even after growing up in NY.

On my way home a couple hours later, I stopped in again. By this time, it had been discovered. Most of the ten or so tables in the back were filled, and a few people waited in line to order. I got an order of potato latkes, chicken noodle matzoh ball soup and, of course, more knishes.

It probably should have taken about 1 minute to put that together, but they were definitely ironing out the kinks and it took about 15 minutes. The waiter was yelling, "I need that soup hot" and Robbie was ordering his assistants to call up right now to get a new toaster. Two or three people behind the counter were peering into the toaster they had, searching for the problem, sort of like how I was peering into my engine when the brake light began flashing.

The latkes are made from shredded potato, which I like better than the kind that is more uniform, and they came with a very nice pink applesauce. And they were just greasy enough, not laden with it. The matzoh balls are light but have texture, not the character-less spongy kind you sometimes get at delis. Robbie's grandmother would be proud.

If someone goes and has the pastrami, lemme know what you think.

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