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“Delicatessen, By Guest Reviewer Julie Besonen”

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

n't bad, not that much higher than Buffa's. In a nod to the past, there is chopped liver ($8), matzo ball chicken soup ($7), and pastrami on rye ($11) -- less than what it costs at Katz's. I suspect the owners, Mark Thomas Amadei and Andrew Glassberg, of Cafeteria in Chelsea, make their profits on drinks. Every customer at every table seemed to have a cocktail at hand. The wine list concentrates on bottles in the $50-$70 range, but I was perfectly satisfied with the cheapest bottle I could find, a plummy, round Norton Malbec for $28.

Our waiter, a friendly fellow with a bull's ring through his nose, brought the wine in a timely fashion but somehow forgot to bring us tap water, or delegate the job, for an hour. I was unsuccessful at catching the eye of other staff members, including a guy with a mohawk who looked like a grown-up Maddox Jolie-Pitt, and a busboy with such cute thick-framed glasses I wanted to ask where he bought them.

No matter, I was really more concerned about the delivery of the Reuben fritters. "There's a lack of alacrity," observed Jim.

Eventually, the Reuben fritters ($9) made their appearance. They were browned and beautiful, piled in a bucket and accompanied by Thousand Island dipping sauce. I bit one in half, ready to savor something utterly delicious. Instead of shreds of corned beef there were threads. No discernible tang of sauerkraut. Melted Swiss cheese, yes. Lots of batter. In short, they were taste-free, I'm sad to say. Really sad to say.

Another kitschy appetizer, cheeseburger spring rolls ($10), fared better. The food runner fumbled and dumped the bucket of them onto our table. They were searing to the touch when I plucked them up and onto our plates. After they'd cooled, I could appreciate the liberal amount of ground beef and cheese inside the crisp packets, brightened by housemade red pepper tomato sauce. Things were looking up.

In addition to the spring rolls, other Asian-style dishes on the menu include a large vegetable salad ($11) and yellowfin tuna with soba noodles ($20). Since the executive chef, Doron Wong, honed his cooking skills in Hong Kong and Singapore, they are here legitimately.

"International comfort food" is Wong's theme. So, apparently, are buckets. The nothing-special bread is in a bucket, the too-heavily battered onion rings ($6) are in a bucket, and so is chicken in a bucket ($14). Ou ... [more, click below]

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“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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