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“Delicatessen, By Guest Reviewer Julie Besonen”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American Soho Moderate Good

Like a magnetic force, Reuben fritters drew me to Delicatessen, a sleek Nolita boîte that opened earlier this summer. When I read about these fried globes of corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese, my brain repeated a mantra: must have Reuben fritters.But first, we had to wait 15 minutes for a table, not bad since the place was packed. We claimed stools at the ultramodern walnut bar and smiled expectantly at the bartender, a lovely creature wearing a white wifebeater.

She did not return the smile and was so harried with drink orders we were ignored for five minutes even though we sat right across from her. Charmless as she was, she did make an excellent absinthe Sazerac ($14) when she got around to it. My husband, Jim, ordered a simple vodka tonic, which turned out to be made with that awful, flattish tonic from a gun instead of one of the new, wonderful bottled tonics on the market, like Fever-Tree or Q Tonic. There's less of a profit-margin for bars that use it, of course, but the taste and bubbles make a superior drink, and don't make me feel gouged at being charged $12.

Our fellow bar patrons were of the freshly showered, untucked-shirt variety, one of whom leaned over to two girls in short shorts and said, "If I beg you, will you stay here and let me buy you a drink?" They blanched and left.

So did we, but because our table was ready, next to stainless steel garage doors that opened onto Prince Street. Given that Nolita is a bigtime shopping neighborhood, there seem to be more Armani A/X and Sigerson Morrison bags than handbags tucked under tables.

Buffa's Luncheonette used to inhabit this corner, catering to local firefighters and office workers. Although I got a kick out of its old school atmosphere and not-getting-any-younger waitresses, the food was, at best, grade school cafeteria quality. I can't say I wept, or was surprised, when it closed.

Locals seem less fond of Delicatessen than Buffa's. In fact, the day after our dinner the Post ran a disconcerting story about a neighbor who lives above the restaurant and expresses his anger at the noise it generates by urinating on the glass-topped lounge area. We did not witness any precipitation. And I didn't think it was that loud. The speaker system is a good one and the house music was kept at a decibel level that did not hinder conversation.

Skeptical locals should know that the prices are ... [more, click below]

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Other restaurants in Soho :
+ Balthazar   + Savoy   + Blue Ribbon   + Lupa   + Public   + Kittichai   + Lure Fishbar   + Barmarche   + Porcupine-- CLOSED   + Ama   + La Esquina   + Jerry's- Closed Now   + The Tasting Room   + Papatzul   + Shorty's.32   + The Monday Room   + Ed's Lobster Bar   + Aurora   + Provence   + Tailor   + Hundred Acres   + Delicatessen, By Guest Reviewer Julie Besonen   + The Mott   + The Dutch   + Cherrywood, by Guest Reviewer Dara Pollak   

“Delicatessen? I don't think so.”

The vaguely Asian accented New York comfort food offered here is abysmal on all counts and the spaced out wasted staff remind one of a "heroin chic" ad from the grunge era.

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