Save the Deli

Grand Central New York Deli opens in Ottawa

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It seems not too long ago that I wrote about the death of deli in Ottawa, Canada’s under the radar capital city. The city’s last reigning deli, Nate’s, had been slated to close, and that seemed like that for the ‘Twa. A shame too, because with it’s location between corned beef Toronto and smoked meat Montreal, a city literally on the border between English and French Canada, Ottawa had great deli potential.

Which is why it gives me great pleasure to tell you all about a newly opened deli in that city.

The Grand Central New York Deli opened last week in Ottawa’s suburbs. It specializes in house cured smoked meat, which is something that’s new to the Ottawa area, and no doubt welcome. There’s also a full range of cooked dishes, from matzo ball soup to kasha varnishkas.

Here’s what the owner, David Cantor, had to say before he opened:

“Ottawa is ready for this,” David says. “There are 15,000 Jews in this city and another 985,000 non-Jews, and I can tell you that all one million of them are ready for a good smoked meat sandwich. I’m filling a niche for good high-quality and hand-crafted traditional smoked meat.”

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I haven’t been, but some of the reviews are pretty good:

From Ron Eade’s Omnivore’s Ottawa:

Grand Central New York Deli is a welcome addition to Ottawa’s culinary landscape as it offers genuine, dry-cured Manhattan-style smoked meat along with other traditional Jewish favourites.

The dry-cure technique is a very labor intensive and time-consuming process, which explains why the sandwich is priced the way it is. Dry curing produces a more intense flavour, but without the excessive salt. It is essential to slice the meat thin, for maximum tenderness and mouth appeal.

The vast majority of cured brisket that passes for “Montreal-style” smoked meat is actually injected with brine, then shrink-wrapped in plastic to “age” in the truck on the way to the restaurant or supermarket. The result is a more soggy, and often salty, product.

The blogger All Things Edible:

Woohoo! Smoked meat piled high for me! Not just any smoked meat, but a dry-rubbed smoked meat that was flavorful, moist, but not greasy or fall apart. On bread make from a local bakery. With coleslaw made on site that was creamy and flavorful and oh so good. I had mine with the sweet potato fries and ate every single one of those fries, the only fries I have eaten in years.

From a commenter on the Ottawa Foodies board:

After all the hoopla, I had to try this place out. Now, I consider myself a fairly well travelled BBQ, brisket and smoked meat man. I’ve eaten a LOT of it, all over. I have to say the quality of the meat here is very, very good. It has a nice deep beefy flavour, really good seasoning, and the texture is excellent.

congrats on their opening. Sounds like a near-instant hit. Best of luck to them.

Grand Central New York Deli
1463 Merivale Rd.
Ottawa, ON
613-274-3354

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