Pastrami Is the Priority at These Old-School New Jersey Delis

For all the talk of authentic Jewish delis going extinct, a few still take great pride in their pastrami.  A pastrami sandwich at Harold’s New York Deli Restaurant in Edison, New Jersey weighs 20 ounces.  The triple-decker at Harold’s weighs in at 3.5 pounds!  Sharing is thankfully encouraged with no fee.

The owner Harold Jaffe says that the deli sells 8,000 pounds of pastrami a week (all of which is made at the restaurant).  Mr. Jaffe learned the business by working at the Carnegie Deli in Manhattan for ten years.

Customers enjoy bar that offers slices of rye bread, half-sours, spicy pickle chips and health salad (cabbage mixed with oil and vinegar).

The Kosher Nosh is another deli located in Glen Rock, New Jersey, and has been in business for 40 years.  The store is run by Avi Friede and Haim Peer, both originally from Israel.  Mr, Friede says that by selling pastrami, lox, corned beef and other traditional deli foods, he is getting back to his Eastern European food roots.

Hobby’s Delicatessen and Restaurant in Newark, New Jersey was purchased by Sam Brummer in 1962 and passed on to his sons Marc and Michael.  The sons were taught to buy quality goods, prepare the goods well, provide excellent service and be a mensch (a person of integrity and honor).  The pastrami sandwich is the restaurant’s best seller, even with a 12-page menu.  According to Michael Brummer, there is one thing as important as properly steaming and slicing meat: schmoozing.

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B&K French Cuisine Brings Paris to Harlem

The distance from Paris to Harlem is 5,823 km or 3,618 miles.  Benjamin Baccari Kebe, a Frenchman of Malian descent, is trying to bridge that gap at a tiny Harlem counter with a few metal stools.

Mr. Kebe trained at culinary school and at Paris restaurants.  His uncle convinced him in 2009 that Americans loved French food, and that the United States presented plenty of opportunity.  Mr. Kebe moved to New York and worked at Harlem neighborhood bistros.  Then last December he opened B&K French Cuisine with plans to make crepes, bake his own focaccia and serve classics like chicken forestiere.  His attention to detail may be found in the fact that he hand-cuts potatoes for French fries every morning.

The food is simple.  The menu is written on chalkboards hung from the wall, with sketches of the Eiffel Tower and a map of France.  Bissap can be found on the menu – an item from Mr. Kebe’s Malian heritage.  It is a mix between juice and tea, made of dried hibiscus soaked in boiling water, with a crush of mint.

The desserts are rich as they should be, including chocolate mousse, Nutella tiramisu and mascarpone in whipped cream.

Recommended dishes are chicken pesto panini, Dijon braised beef panini, and Londonian fish and chips.  Prices range up to $16.

B&K French Cuisine is located at 2167 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard in Harlem.  The restaurant is open from Tuesday to Sunday for late breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations are not accepted.

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