As I promised all of my fellow Chowhounds, I visited Frishmans Deli on Solano Avenue in Berkeley for a third and fourth time this month in September. In my opinion, I feel that the quality and taste of the food I purchased has dropped to its lowest since I first visited in July. In fact, the third and fourth times I visited, I had to throw away everything I purchased. The challah I was told was fresh out of the oven that day. However, it was the worse challah I have ever eaten. The dough was dried out, overly crusty and crumbled apart. It did not taste good either, even with butter. I also had the corn beef sandwich, chicken soup and brisket. The corn beef was old and had a bad taste. The onion roll was stale. As for the chicken soup, the broth was overly salty, but what made it unpleasant to eat was the fact that there were so many bones and cartilage that I had to keep spitting out the broth. No attempt had been made to filter out the bones. In my opinion, and this is just my opinion as is this entire review, it seemed like someone had just cut up a chicken breast with a cleaver and thrown it in the soup. When you cook chicken soup, you want bones in the broth because they add critical flavor. However, you want to keep the pieces together. When the broth is ready, you want to remove the chicken and cut as much off the bone as possible. When you are finished, you put the chicken pieces back into the broth. There may be some bones left, but they are easy to eat around. Unfortunately, this was not the case in this chicken broth. As for the brisket, it was too tough to eat. The cranberry and tomato sauce was fine, but the brisket had not been cooked in the right away for it to be soft. It was too tough to eat.
I know that all eating establishments have to decide how much they can afford to cook like home and make a decent profit. It is usually very costly and it costs more for the consumer. However, serving inedible challah, old corn beef, stale bread, bony chicken soup and brisket that is too tough to eat, is not acceptable. The establishment has to find a way to improve the quality of these foods. So far it has not. After 4 visits with the second visit being the only visit where the food was barely acceptable, I have made the decision not to return to this establishment. In time, however, maybe a brave Chowhound can visit this deli and taste the food I mentioned. Hopefully, the quality will have improved and the Chowhound will give a favorable report. I hope it is sooner than later, because I love deli food, and this is the only deli on Solano Avenue.